Kaulig Racing Penalty Further Amended Per NASCAR Request; Points Restored to No. 31

The Final Appeals Officer ruled Tuesday on the L2-level penalties assessed to Kaulig Racing from Phoenix Raceway in March, restoring the 75 driver/owner and 10 playoff points.


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On Tuesday, the Final Appeals Officer (FAO) heard and considered a final appeal of the L2-level penalty assessed to Kaulig Racing on March 15, which was then amended on April 5.

The penalty, which was distributed to Kaulig Racing - as well as four other teams from Hendrick Motorsports - came as a result of the modification of a single-source part, specifically a hood louver, and included the loss of 100 driver/owner points, 10 playoff points, as well as a $100k fine and four-race suspension to the crew chief.

Despite the April 29 ruling by the National Motorsports Appeals Panel to remove all points implications for the four penalized Hendrick Motorsports teams, a different three-person penal chose to reduce the points deduction from 100 to 75 points.

With that decision, Kaulig Racing made the choice to take its appeal one step further, to the Final Appeals Officer, who heard the case on April 18, and decided to reverse all points implications, in order to match the amendment of the Hendrick Motorsports penalty.

As a result, Justin Haley and the No. 31 Chevrolet Camaro have been given back the 75 driver and owner points that were taken away, as well as the 10 playoff points taken from the Indiana-native.

"In the interest of fairness, NASCAR has requested that I remove the driver/owner race and playoff points from the penalty to Kaulig Racing," said Final Appeals Officer, Bill Mullis. "I have agreed to this request, per the Rule Book. During its opening remarks, NASCAR stated it believes that the violations did occur, the penalties were appropriate and the three-person appeals panel ruled correctly."

"Because the Kaulig infraction closely mirrored that of Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR requested I rule in the same manner as the three-person appeals panel following the Hendrick Motorsports appeal on March 29," the statement continued. "The information I heard in the room this morning created an overwhelming and unique circumstance. In fairness to the team and sanctioning body, as NASCAR documented in its remarks, this request is fully in the interest of fairness and consistency, and I agree.”

The points restoration launches Haley from 32nd to 25th in NASCAR Cup Series point standings, but leaves the No. 31 more than full race below the playoff cutline.

“NASCAR believes that Kaulig Racing committed the violations documented in the penalty notice, that the penalties were appropriate and that the three-person appeals panel ruled correctly when hearing the Kaulig appeal on April 5," a statement from the sanctioning body reads. "However, in the interest of treating all competitors fairly, NASCAR today requested that the Final Appeals Officer remove the race and playoff points from the penalty."

"The Kaulig and Hendrick Motorsports violations involved the same modified part found during the same race weekend, and with fairness and consistency top of mind, NASCAR requested that the FAO match the final Hendrick Motorsports penalty. NASCAR believes that the updates made to the Rule Book will address similar issues in the future and keep its promise to the owners for strict penalties when single-source parts are modified. We are pleased with the swift resolution to today’s appeal, appreciate Bill Mullis’ ruling and now look forward to this weekend’s events at Talladega Superspeedway.”

After six weeks of lobbying and appealing, Kaulig Racing is happy to finally have full-focus on the task ahead, getting its two full-time drivers, AJ Allmendinger and Justin Haley into the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

"Kaulig Racing is pleased with the ruling of the Final Appeals Officer to amend the original L2 penalty issued by NASCAR following the confiscation of a louver at Phoenix Raceway," a team statement reads. "Regarding these unique circumstances, it means the world to us as an organization that the sanctioning body is working hard to ensure fairness and consistency across the board within our sport. We are focused ahead on Talladega and look forward to getting our season back on track with Justin Haley."

With the completion of the Kaulig Racing appeal, the new rules and regulations surrounding the power of the National Motorsports Appeals Panel will come into effect, should another penalty be distributed in the near future.

Photo Credit: Christopher Fisher, TobyChristie.com

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