NASCAR insiders believe Hendrick Motorsports will receive big penalties following Phoenix

NASCAR insiders believe Hendrick Motorsports will receive big penalties after the hood louvers were confiscated from all four cars at Phoenix.

NASCAR: United Rentals Work United 500

Hendrick Motorsports could be in some deep trouble after NASCAR confiscated the hood louvers from all four cars after the practice session at Phoenix Raceway last weekend. This would be significant if the team modified the parts.

Find out the latest on the potential penalties that could be coming this week.

Several NASCAR insiders think Hendrick Motorsports will be slammed with penalties

Hendrick Motorsports
Mar 12, 2023; Avondale, AZ, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson s pit crew refuel and put on a fresh set of tires on the car during the United Rentals Work United 500 at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale on March 12, 2023. Mandatory Credit: Alex Gould/The Republic Nascar Cup Race

William Byron, the driver of the No. 24 car for Hendrick Motorsports, won at Phoenix Raceway after another late caution propelled him to a second straight victory. Byron won Stage 1 while his teammate Kyle Larson won Stage 2 and dominated the event.

However, the major news circling the organization is not about the race itself. The hood louvers taken from NASCAR have been the main topic and several insiders within the sport believe penalties will likely be coming.

The Athletic’s Jeff Gluck and Jordan Bianchi held their podcast, The Teardown, after the NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix and discussed the situation regarding Hendrick Motorsports. This is what Gluck had to say.

“It sounds like (NASCAR) wouldn’t have taken (the hood louvers) if they were ‘Ehh’, they spotted something. I feel like NASCAR’s hand has been forced. I guess I would be surprised if we came back on the podcast next week and we’re like, ‘Oh yeah, it was all good.’”

Jeff Gluck on potential penalites toward Hendrick Motorsports

Gluck would be surprised to hear about any positive news for Hendrick Motorsports this week and it is reasonable to understand. The sport has clearly stated that any modifications to a NextGen part would result in a penalty.

If modifications took place, they were likely not performed due to a safety concern so it would be tough to argue against it. This is something that Bianchi also expressed during the podcast. If there is no evidence that NASCAR has discussed something like this with them, it will be hard.

“I don’t see how (Hendrick Motorsports) can get around this. It is very clear what you can or can’t do and anything outside of that, (NASCAR)’s gonna come after you.”

Jordan Bianchi on potential penalites toward Hendrick Motorsports

The Athletic writers are also not the only people connected to NASCAR that believe penalties will be coming. FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass said in a post-race video that “You gotta think they’re gonna get penalized but you never know.”

While the NASCAR world will not know the findings under Tuesday or Wednesday, many people connected to the sport already believe Hendrick Motorsports will receive penalties as the precedent has already been set.

With the rules for the NextGen car being strict, Hendrick Motorsports could be seeing some big penalties next week. Continue reading to find out what some of the options might look like for the team.

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Evaluating potential penalties for Hendrick Motorsports

NASCAR: Cup Practice
Mar 10, 2023; Avondale, Arizona, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Josh Berry (9) during practice for the United Rentals Work United 500 at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR has made it clear to organizations that any modification of a NextGen car part will be met with severe consequences. Even if Hendrick Motorsports was having trouble with the hood louvers fitting, they were directly told to not modify them.

Any argument that Hendrick Motorsports would make if something is found by NASCAR relating to the process of them not fitting would likely be for nothing. So, let’s take a look at what could be coming the organization’s way this week.

The best-case scenario for Hendrick Motorsports is that NASCAR saw something they didn’t like but there is nothing in the rule book about it. This could be something that has a gray area and creates a situation where the team did not break the rules.

No penalties would be enforced in this scenario and Hendrick Motorsports would simply get a slap on the wrist to not do that again. Another situation is that NASCAR doesn’t find anything wrong and nothing happens at all.

The worst-case scenario would be the penalties that were seen last season for several teams. If NASCAR finds that Hendrick Motorsports did modify the hood louvers, a NextGen part, it would be really severe.

NASCAR has given the same three penalties for modifying a NextGen part since the start of last season. The full penalty is listed below.

  • 100-point penalty (driver and owner), the reduction of 10 playoff points, a four-race suspension for the crew chief, and a $100,000 fine

This would be a massive blow to Hendrick Motorsports since all four cars had confiscated parts. If NASCAR finds modifications on all four cars, each car could receive the penalty that is listed above.

It would be devastating for each driver to lose 100 points, 10 playoffs, $100,000, and their crew chiefs for four races since it is so early in the season. Nothing has suggested that Hendrick Motorsports has modified or not modified the part at this point.

The organization could receive zero penalties if nothing is found or the rulebook states what they did was perfectly fine before the weekend. On the other hand, Hendrick Motorsports could see one of the biggest penalties in NASCAR history if the parts are found to be modified.

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