Christmas came late for Mike Harmon Racing, but it’s better late than never. The two-car NASCAR Xfinity Series team can breathe a little easier after their final appeal, for a November 22nd L2 penalty stemming from what was deemed a violation of the vehicle testing policy, was heard on Thursday.
Following their final appeal, the team had their $50,000 fine and six-race suspension of their crew chief, Ryan Bell, rescinded.
The team will still face a penalty of 75 NASCAR Xfinity Series owner points for the No. 74 Mike Harmon Racing team as well as 75 NASCAR Xfinity Series driver points for Mike Harmon, who was driving the No. 74 machine at the event, where the testing violation occurred.
The Final Appeal Officer who heard MHR’s case was Mr. Roger Werner.
A recent change in the NASCAR rulebook led to the less severe penalties assessed in the final appeal.
Werner made two decisions on Thursday:
That the Appellants (MHR) violated the Rules set forth in the Penalty Notice.
That the decision of the National Motorsports Appeals Panel upholding the original Penalty that was issued by NASCAR was incorrect in light of the NASCAR Rulebook modification made on January 24, 2022. This rulebook change allowed the penalty elements to be applied on an and/or basis and based upon that the Penalty has been modified to be a loss of 75 NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship Team Owner and Driver points. The suspension and monetary fine elements have been rescinded.
But the big thing for MHR, and their crew chief Ryan Bell, is that the monetary fines have been struck from the record.
Following the decision from the Final Appeal Officer, Mike Harmon Racing released a statement:
Statement from @mhrracing pic.twitter.com/FI8BdzSbSG
— Mike Harmon Racing (@mhrracing) January 27, 2022
So, how did we get here?
Mike Harmon Racing was participating in a charity event at Rockingham Speedway on the weekend of November 14th. As part of the event, Harmon brought an outdated No. 74 Dodge Challenger NASCAR Xfinity Series car as well as a current model No. 74 Chevrolet Camaro NASCAR Xfinity Series car to run around the track.
After the team posted photos of the cars on track, NASCAR issued a penalty to the team on November 22nd.
Mike Harmon Racing made an unsuccessful first appeal of the penalties on December 15th.