NASCAR has slapped two Hendrick Motorsports teams with L1-level penalties for engine allocation infractions at last weekend’s Cup race at New Hampshire.
Hendrick’s No. 9 team for defending series champion Chase Elliott and the No. 48 team of teammate Alex Bowman were determined to be in violation of Section 20.6.1.e in the NASCAR Rule Book, which covers engine assembly. The penalty report states: “When the long block is sealed, the engine must be used in the same vehicle number the next time it is used.”
The series has deducted 25 points from each team’s total in the driver and team owner standings, and crew chiefs Alan Gustafson (No. 9 team) and Greg Ives (No. 48) have each been 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.
Hendrick Motorsports issued a statement accepting the penalty, and explaining that the violation was caused by a team error:
“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.”
The penalty drops Elliott from fifth to sixth in the Cup Series standings, while Bowman remains 11th in the points.
Hendrick Motorsports has accounted for 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.