NASCAR dropped the hammer on Wednesday afternoon as the sanctioning body issued an L3 penalty to the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing NASCAR Cup Series team and its driver Chase Briscoe.
According to the penalty report from NASCAR, the No. 14 team is alleged to have counterfeited a part on their Next Gen car that was driven in Monday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The team has been found to be in violation of section 14.1.C&F, which pertains to Overall Assembled Vehicle Rules, section 14.6.A, which pertains to the Underwing, and section 14.6.3.B, which pertains to the Engine Panel.
According to Elton Sawyer, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition, the No. 14 car had an engine panel NACA duct not in compliance with the rule book.
“In the post-race inspection at the R&D Center, we found the No. 14 car had an engine panel NACA duct not in compliance with the rule book,” NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Elton Sawyer told NASCAR.com. “It is a counterfeit part, and that is an L3 penalty. We need to make sure we’re keeping the teams and the car in compliance. The deterrence model has to fit that, and that’s our responsibility as custodians of the sport and of the garage.
“Don’t mess with a single-source part. Working in areas we used to in the Gen-6 car, is just not going to be acceptable with this car as we move forward. It’s not going to be the culture we’re going to allow.”
As a result of the violation, NASCAR has issued a 120 championship owner point deduction to the No. 14 team, and 120 championship driver point deduction for driver Chase Briscoe. Both the team and Briscoe have been docked 25 Playoff Points, crew chief Johnny Klausmeier has been suspended from the next six NASCAR Cup Series points-paying events, and he has been fined $250,000.
The massive penalty drops Briscoe, who was on the cusp of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs cutline, from 17th in the championship standings to 31st.
The No. 14 team drops from 18th in the NASCAR Cup Series owner standings to 31st.
Fortunately, for Briscoe and the No. 14 team, this offseason, NASCAR removed the Playoff eligibility criteria which required teams and drivers to be inside the top 30 of the championship standings to chase for a championship.
If Briscoe and the No. 14 team can win a race, they will be Playoff eligible.
After finishing 20th in Monday's rain-delayed Coca-Cola 600, the No. 14 car was one of six cars taken back to the NASCAR R&D Center for further inspection after the race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Specifically, the No. 14 car was selected to undergo a full teardown as well as engine dyno.
Stewart-Haas Racing did have the option of appealing the penalties, but has indicated that it will not exercise that option. The team says they accept the penalty and chalk the infraction up to a "quality control lapse."
Photo Credit: Craig White, Racing America