NASCAR threw the book at Hendrick Motorsports on Thursday as the No. 48 car, driven by Alex Bowman and the No. 9 car, driven by Chase Elliott were found to be in violation of section 20.6.1.e of the NASCAR Rule Book which pertains to the series engine allocation rule.
The NASCAR 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.”
A statement from Hendrick Motorsports confirms the team accidentally placed the incorrect sealed motor in the cars at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
“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.”
As a result, both teams were slapped with an L1 penalty, which will result in the loss of 25 driver and owner championship points for each team, a $50,000 fine to each of their crew chiefs and Hendrick Motorsports’ executive vice president and general manager Jeff Andrews and the team’s director of track engine support Scott Maxim will serve a suspension for the next NASCAR Cup Series event, which is at Watkins Glen International.
This penalty has Playoff point implications for Elliott as he drops from fifth to sixth in the championship standings. At the end of the regular season, if he cannot improve back to fifth, that would be a penalty of one Playoff point.
Bowman remains 11th in the championship standings after the penalty.
Hendrick Motorsports has had a huge season in 2021, as their four drivers have combined to win 10 races through the season’s first 22 races.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.