(WOMR file photo)
NASCAR discovered “possible issues” with the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin in post-race inspection. At question were rear firewall block-off plates on Hamlin’s car.
According to NASCAR the parts were confiscated and taken back to the research and development center in Concord, N.C. for further evaluation. According to one crew chief, If the block-off plates are not sealed off sufficiently, air can flow through the firewall enabling the car to gain anywhere from 20 to 30 pounds of rear downforce. Hamlin qualified 27th. After Hamlin pitted on Lap 55 from the lead, he fell to 13th but quickly made his way back to the front of the back to finish third on Sunday. He led 18 laps.
This infraction is a P5 level penalty which is outlined in Section 12-4.5 A (9) of the 2014 NASCAR rule book:
Approved parts that fail or are improperly installed to fail in their intended use of great importance (e.g.; rear wheel well panels that fail and allow air evacuation in the trunk area; oil box cover that fails and allows air evacuation in the driver compartment; shifter boot cover that fails and allows air evacuation through the floor pan). This infraction violates Sections 12-1, 20-2.1, 20.3.4, 126.96.36.199.
As a result of these violations, crew chief Darian Grubb has been fined $75,000 plus an additional $50,000 post-race fine for a total of $125,000. Grubb has also been suspended from NASCAR for the next six series championship events, plus any non-championship races or special events that might occur during that time period. Grubb will also be on NASCAR probation for the next six months.
Car chief Wesley Sherrill has been suspended from NASCAR for the next six series championship events, plus any non-championship races or special events that might occur during that time period and will be on NASCAR probation for the next six months.
This infraction has also cost the #11 team the loss of 50 championship driver and owner (Denny Hamlin and J.D. Gibbs) points plus an additional 25 post-race points for a total loss of 75 championship driver and 75 championship owner points.
With this latest gaffe by the JGR #11 team, this could possibly be the nail in the coffin that prevents this team from gaining access into The Chase. Even though this team has a victory in the regular season, they cannot afford to slip, stumble, or or have one more mulligan in the remaining races prior to The Chase, because that would allow them to fall out of the top 30 in points!
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!