News analysis: Hendrick penalties

None of you asked for it, but I’ll break down the news, its significance and un-answered questions of Hendrick Motorsports’ penalty.

The news

NASCAR handed HMS an L2-level penalty, Wednesday, for unapproved modifications to the body of its cars, last weekend, at Phoenix Raceway. Each car’s crew chief (Cliff Daniels, Rudy Fugle, Alan Gustafson and Blake Harris) was handed a four-race suspension and fined $100,000. Furthermore, NASCAR docked each team 100 owner/driver points and 10 playoff points. Excluding the No. 9 team, which Josh Berry (who earns points in the XFINITY Series) drove in place of the injured Chase Elliott.

These penalties drop Alex Bowman from the points lead to 23rd, William Byron to 29th and Kyle Larson to 32nd. Aside from Byron, this reset Larson to zero playoff points. Byron, however, resets to three.

HMS announced it plans to appeal the penalties, but won’t request deferrals of suspensions. So four substitute crew chiefs will sit on the war wagons, this weekend, at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Its significance

On a scale of 1-10, this is a five.

For most teams, this is a 10. With Hendrick, however, I doubt this holds them down. Considering that after NASCAR confiscated the parts, it still dominated Sunday’s race at Phoenix.


For NASCAR’s all-time winningest team, this isn’t Izuku Midoriya fighting Muscular during his forest lodge trip training. Rather, I suspect this will be Deku jobbing Muscular.

I’ll go a step further and predict that by the halfway point of the season, Bowman, Byron and Larson make up the points they lost with this penalty.

Un-answered questions

I can’t really think of anything Wednesday’s penalty announcement left un-answered. This was pretty cut-n-dry and NASCAR confiscated the parts, before it let the Hendrick cars race, Sunday.

That’s all, for now.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Tucker White
Tucker White
I've followed NASCAR for well over 20 years of my life, both as a fan and now as a member of the media. As of 2023, I'm on my eighth season as a traveling NASCAR beat writer. For all its flaws and dumb moments, NASCAR at its best produces some of the best action you'll ever see in the sport of auto racing. Case in point: Kyle Larson's threading the needle pass at Darlington Raceway on May 9, 2021. On used-up tires, racing on a worn surface and an aero package that put his car on the razor's edge of control, Larson demonstrated why he's a generational talent. Those are the stories I want to capture and break down. In addition to NASCAR, I also follow IndyCar and Formula 1. As a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I'm a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan (especially in regards to Tennessee football). If covering NASCAR doesn't kill me, down the road, watching Tennessee football will. I'm also a diehard fan of the Atlanta Braves, and I lived long enough to see them win a World Series for the first time since 1995 (when I was just a year old). I've also sworn my fan allegiance to the Nashville Predators, though that's not paid out as much as the Braves. Furthermore, as a massive sports dork, I follow the NFL on a weekly basis. Though it's more out of an obligation than genuine passion (for sports dorks, following the NFL is basically an unwritten rule). Outside of sports, I'm a major cinema buff and a weeb. My favorite film is "Your Name" and my favorite anime is "Black Lagoon."


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