Hendrick Motorsports said Thursday that a penalty issued to the No. 9 and 48 teams came about due to an administrative error.
The organization issued the statement shortly after NASCAR officials issued L1-level penalties to the two teams for engine-allocation infractions at the Cup Series’ most recent race.
Hendrick’s No. 9 team for defending series champion Chase Elliott and the No. 48 team of teammate Alex Bowman were found in violation of Section 20.6.1.e in the NASCAR Rule Book, which covers engine assembly. The penalty report notes: “When the long block is sealed, the engine must be used in the same vehicle number the next time it is used.”
Competition officials deducted 25 points from each team’s total in each the driver and team owner standings, and crew chiefs Alan Gustafson (No. 9 team) and Greg Ives (No. 48) were each fined $50,000. NASCAR also issued one-race suspensions to Hendrick Motorsports executive vice president and general manager Jeff Andrews and the organization’s director of track engine support Scott Maxim for the next Cup Series event.
The penalty drops Elliott from fifth to sixth in the Cup Series standings. Bowman remains in 11th place in points after the series’ most recent event, held last Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The Hendrick statement said:
“Due to an administrative error, one of our sealed engines assigned to the No. 9 car was unintentionally allocated to our No. 48 team at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Although the engine passed technical inspection and absolutely no competitive advantage was gained, we acknowledge NASCAR’s process was not followed correctly in this instance.
“The rules regarding the assignment of sealed engines are clear, and we understand and respect their decision to issue a penalty. We apologize for the mistake and have taken steps to ensure it will not be repeated.”
Hendrick Motorsports has 10 wins in 22 races in the NASCAR Cup Series this year, and all four of its drivers are among the projected top 10 in the provisional playoff standings. Kyle Larson leads the group with four victories this season. Bowman has won three times; Elliott has won twice, and teammate William Byron has one win.
Four races remain in the regular season, which resumes Aug. 8 at Watkins Glen International.