The Final Appeals Officer (FAO) has heard and considered the case for Kaulig Racing, in regard to its L2-level penalty, which was assessed for illegally modifying a single-source part after the NASCAR Cup Series event at Phoenix.
Bill Mullis, the one-person panel for the second round of an appeal hearing, has decided to amend the penalties to Kaulig Racing for the second time, this time removing the complete burden of the points penalty that was upheld by the National Motorsports Appeals Panel.
The newly-amended penalty matches the changes that were made to the penalty handed to Hendrick Motorsports at Phoenix, for a similar infraction, in which the National Motorsports Appeals Panel (NMAP) elected to remove all points implications.
The same, however, was not done for Kaulig Racing when the team had its appeal hearing on March 5, with the three-person panel electing to keep the points penalty, but limit it to a 75-point infraction, the minimum within the range given in the NASCAR Rule Book.
“In the interest of fairness, NASCAR has requested that I remove the driver/owner race and playoff points from the penalty to Kaulig Racing,” Mullis said in a provided statement. “I have agreed to this request, per the Rule Book.”
However, the four-race suspension and $100k fine for Trent Owens will remain part of the penalty, as was the case for Hendrick Motorsports and its four crew chiefs when the penalty was amended.
“During its opening remarks, NASCAR stated it believes that the violations did occur, the penalties were appropriate and the three-person appeals panel ruled correctly,” Mullis continued.”But, because the Kaulig infraction closely mirrored that of Hendrick Motorsports (modified louver at Phoenix Raceway), NASCAR requested I rule in the same manner as the three-person appeals panel following the Hendrick Motorsports appeal on March 29. The information I heard in the room this morning created an overwhelming and unique circumstance. In fairness to the team and sanctioning body, as NASCAR documented in its remarks, this request is fully in the interest of fairness and consistency, and I agree.”
With the complete restoration of the 75-point penalty for Justin Haley, the native of Winamac, Indiana, moves from 32nd to 25th in NASCAR Cup Series points, sitting 61 markers outside the playoff cutline heading to Talladega.
Shortly after the announcement of the penalty amendment, NASCAR released a statement that reads as follows:
“NASCAR believes that Kaulig Racing committed the violations documented in the penalty notice, that the penalties were appropriate, and that the three-person appeals panel ruled correctly when hearing the Kaulig appeal on April 5. However, in the interest of treating all competitors fairly, NASCAR today requested that the Final Appeals Officer remove the race and playoff points from the penalty. The Kaulig and Hendrick Motorsports violations involved the same modified part found during the same race weekend (modified louver at Phoenix Raceway), and with fairness and consistency top of mind, NASCAR requested that the FAO match the final Hendrick Motorsports penalty.”
“NASCAR believes that the updates made to the Rule Book will address similar issues in the future and keep its promise to the owners for strict penalties when single-source parts are modified. We are pleased with the swift resolution to today’s appeal, appreciate Bill Mullis’ ruling, and now look forward to this weekend’s events at Talladega Superspeedway.” — NASCAR.”