NASCAR Cup Series
Kaulig Racing Receives Amended Penalties Following National Motorsports Appeals Panel Hearing
Apr 5, 2023
Kaulig Racing, which saw its L2 penalties for modified hood louvers at Phoenix Raceway amended slightly on Wednesday after its appeal was heard by the National Motorsports Appeals Panel, will now head to final appeal as the team attempts to further lessen its penalties.
The team made its intentions known with a statement that it shared on its social channels on Thursday.
"Following the results of the appeal hearing on Wednesday, Kaulig Racing has decided to move to a final appeal hearing with the National Motorsports Appeal Panel. Thank you to everyone for the generous support."
On Wednesday, the National Motorsports Appeals Panel determined that Kaulig Racing had in fact violated the rules set forth in the NASCAR Cup Series rulebook as the No. 31 Chevrolet Camaro had a modified hood louver at Phoenix Raceway, which was discovered before the race that weekend.
The panel opted to reduce the penalties from 100 driver points and 100 owner points to 75 driver points and 75 owner points.
The additional sanctions of a 10 Playoff Point deduction, $100,000 fine, and four-race suspension for crew chief Trent Owens were upheld upon appeal.
On Wednesday evening Chris Rice, the team's president appeared on FS1's NASCAR RaceHub and spoke about his disappointment of the penalties and the amended penalties following appeal.
“Out of respect to everybody at NASCAR and everybody, I can’t talk too much about it. It’s disheartening,” Rice stated. “From Kaulig Racing, everybody from Matt Kaulig to myself, you know what goes on in the garage and you know what happens. Single-source suppliers and knowing rules and different things is really tough these days. I’m not going to lie, I sit here and stand behind my guys. I stand behind everybody at Kaulig Racing that we upheld the rules. We did what we know is legal.”
In addition to feeling like his team did nothing wrong, Hendrick Motorsports saw it's 100-point penalties for all four of its teams completely erased following an appeal for the exact same infraction at Phoenix Raceway. Rice says while he wasn't in the room for the Hendrick appeal, he knows that the situations are nearly identical.
“We’re a Chevrolet team, right? And Chevrolet does an amazing job letting us all be close together, and yes I did. I talked to Jeff Gordon. I talked to Chad Knaus. I’ve had multiple conversations with those guys,” Rice said. “You know, what’s funny is we loaned those guys louvers at Phoenix, when their louvers got taken from our backup cars from Las Vegas.”
Rice continued by saying, “I do know their case. I wasn’t sitting in the room with them, so I can’t speak that in depth about it, but I did have conversations with them.”
NASCAR issued a statement of disappointment following the National Motorsports Appeals Panel's decision on the Hendrick Motorsports case, as the sanctioning body contended that the points penalties levied were the strongest deterrent that the sanctioning body has to utilize to prevent teams from circumventing the rules when it comes to single-source supplied parts.
Now, we will await the results of Kaulig Racing's final appeal, but based on the changes to the Hendrick Motorsports penalties, it feels like the race team certainly has a leg to stand on in its final appeal.
Photo Credit: Jim Fluharty/HHP for Chevy Racing