NASCAR issued L1 penalties to the No. 9 team of Chase Elliott and the No. 48 team of Alex Bowman Thursday afternoon. It was determined that the teams had violated Section 20.6.1e in the NASCAR Rule Book.
The rule under engine assembly states that when the long block is sealed, “the engine must be used in the same vehicle number the next time it is used.”
As a result of the infraction, both teams had 25 points deducted from the driver and team owner standings. Alan Gustafson, the No. 9 team crew chief, and Greg Ives, the No. 48 crew chief, were each issued a $50,000 fine.
NASCAR also suspended Hendrick Motorsports executive vice president and general manager, Jeff Andrews, and Scott Maxim, HMS director of track engine support, for the next Cup Series event.
Hendrick Motorsports issued a statement on the penalties.
“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.”
All of the Hendrick Motorsports drivers are currently eligible to advance to the Playoffs. The penalty moves Elliott (2 wins) from fifth place to sixth in the standings while Bowman (3 wins) remains in 11th place. Kyle Larson is currently second with four wins and William Byron, with one win, is third.
There are only four Cup Series races left in the regular season with the next scheduled race at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 8.