NASCAR

NASCAR's Denny Hamlin penalty is huge hammer blow

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Hamlin at the Brickyard (©GettyImages)
Hamlin at the Brickyard (©GettyImages).

There have been a couple of penalties handed out by NASCAR over the course of the season but this one stands out.

Following the race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend for the running of the Brickyard 400 a penalty was issued to Denny Hamlin and his team No. 11 team by NASCAR after they scored a third place finish. Actually, let me rephrase that… a huge penalty was issued to the Hamlin team!

Here’s what the penalty includes when you get right down to the fine print. NASCAR has stripped the No. 11 team of 75 owner championship points and 75 points in the drivers' standings. Crew chief Darian Grubb has been suspended for the next six Sprint Cup events and he has been fined $125,000 bucks.

In addition, the No. 11 team’s Car chief, Wesley Sherrill, was hit with a six-race suspension. On top of that both Grubb and Sherrill will be on probation for the six months.

Post Race Info

The whole story starts only a few minutes after the Brickyard 400 came to an end at Indy. As Jeff Gordon was taking his victory lap after winning the race, almost 20 years to the exact day he won the first running of the Brickyard, word started to trickle out of the garage area that a car was getting some extra attention by NASCAR officials.

I can’t reveal the sources, as I would never hurt a person’s job, but soon after the race a couple of contacts with a few different organizations suggested that I needed to keep my eye on how post race inspections were going. The bad news was that I was already on the road and could not keep up with the online buzz.

A few minutes later I heard one of the radio announcers briefly state that the Denny Hamlin car was having some problems passing inspection. Soon after that things began to start rolling.

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Word was released by NASCAR officials soon after the race that Denny Hamlin’s car would be held over and sent for inspection. The early word was problems with the firewalls.

Reason for the Penalty

The reason for the penalty is actually pretty simple. Driver safety was traded off for speed and performance in the eyes of NASCAR. According to NASCAR Hamlin's car failed the post-race inspection at Indianapolis because “issues” were found with several of the mandated covers in the rear firewall of the driver compartment. Loose or missing covers could vent the driver compartment and create more downforce for the car.

Comment from Joe Gibbs Racing

Here’s the official statement released to the media from Joe Gibbs Racing about the penalties and fines placed on the No. 11 Denny Hamlin team following the Brickyard 400.

“HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 28, 2014) – Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) is aware of the penalty issued by NASCAR today regarding the No. 11 team’s post-race inspection infraction following Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race in Indianapolis. JGR will plan to appeal the penalty, however, crew chief Darian Grubb and car chief Wesley Sherrill will begin to serve their suspensions starting this weekend in Pocono.“

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