Once NASCAR introduced the Next-Gen car, they made it very clear that certain parts of the new race car were not to be modified or counterfeited. As is typical in NASCAR, that has not stopped teams from being creative in trying to skirt those rules. However, NASCAR has found some teams guilty of such modifications, and these are all of the Next-Gen parts penalties NASCAR has levied.
2022 Atlanta Spring: Brad Keselowski (1 Penalty)
Brad Keselowski of RFK Racing was the first to be penalized last season for modifying a single source part. He lost 100 driver and owner points and 10 playoff points, and crew chief Matt McCall was suspended for four races and fined $100,000. The penalty was due to a tail panel, which Keselowski claimed was repaired not to NASCAR’s satisfaction, but he stated that he has to run the panel because of the lack of Next Gen parts available.
2022 Pocono: Joe Gibbs Racing and Petty GMS (4 Penalties)
Petty GMS was penalized pre-race for adjustments to the rocker box assemblies at Pocono on the 43 car driven by Erik Jones and the 42 car driven by Ty Dillon. The penalty was the loss of 35 driver and owner points and crew chiefs suspended for the weekend.
Joe Gibbs Racing had the biggest penalty, however, as the top-two finishers Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch were penalized for adding a piece of clear tape to the front fascia. The result was the first winner disqualification in NASCAR since 1960, and the driver who ran third on track, Chase Elliot, won the race. Hamlin listed the trophy with the tape and a used bottle of champagne on eBay.
2022 Talladega Spring: Kevin Harvick (1 Penalty)
The number 4 Stewart-Haas Racing car driven by Kevin Harvick was penalized for modifications at Talladega. The result was a 100 point driver and owner point penalty and a four race suspension for crew chief Rodney Childers. This was Harvick’s Tweet right before the penalty was announced.
***2023 Phoenix Spring: Hendrick Motorsports and Kaulig Racing (5 Penalties)
All four Hendrick Motorsports teams with drivers Alex Bowman, William Byron, Josh Berry, and Kyle Larson and the number 31 Kaulig Racing team with driver Justin Haley were penalized for modifying hood louvers. The penalties for all five teams were $100,000 fines for each crew chief, four race suspensions for each crew chief, the loss of 100 driver and owner points, and the loss of 10 playoff points.
UPDATE: An appeals panel rescinded some of the penalties against Hendrick Motorsports, restoring the driver and owner’s points. NASCAR later decided to restore the Kaulig Racing points as well as a result of the Hendrick appeals process.
2023 Richmond Spring: Alex Bowman and William Byron (2 Penalties)
Not long after their previous penalty was overturned, Alex Bowman and William Byron were penalized for modifying the greenhouse, another Next Gen single source part. As a result, they were each docked 60 driver and owner points, five playoff points, and crew chiefs were fined $75,000 each and suspended for two races.
2023 Martinsville Spring: Austin Dillon (1 Penalty)
The number 3 Richard Childress Racing team with driver Austin Dillon were penalized for modifications to the underwing assembly. The ensuing penalty was a $75,000 fine and a loss of 60 driver and owner points and five playoff points.
2023 Coca-Cola 600: Chase Briscoe (1 Penalty)
Chase Briscoe was hammered by far the hardest of anyone, as they counterfeited the NACA ducts on their car. The penalty was a $250,000 fine and a six race suspension for crew chief Johnny Klausmeier, and the loss of 120 driver and owner points along with 25 playoff points.
2023 Enjoy Illinois 300: Erik Jones (1 Penalty)
Erik Jones’ team was given the exact same penalty for the exact same violation that Hendrick Motorsports had at Richmond. The penalty, 60 driver and owner points, five playoff points, $75,000 fine for crew chief Dave Elenz, and two race suspension for Elenz. This is the 16th penalty for modifying next-gen parts since the beginning of 2022, and the 10th of 2023.
2023 FireKeepers Casino 400: A.J. Allmendinger (1 Penalty)
A.J. Allmendinger failed inspection twice prior to the race at Michigan. As a result, his car chief was ejected and his team lost pit stall selection. NASCAR did not say exactly what it was that caused the inspection failure.
2023 YellaWood 500: Kevin Harvick (1 Penalty)
Kevin Harvick came incredibly close to getting a win in his final season at Talladega, but he ended up finishing second. However, NASCAR found an issue with the windshield fasteners. Harvick was disqualified from the race as a result.
***2023 South Point 400: Ryan Blaney (1 Penalty)
Next-Gen penalties took a hiatus for a while until the Round of 8. Ryan Blaney’s car was found to have a shock that did not meet the specified length. Blaney was disqualified from the race as a result, and he now sits 56 points below the cut-line.
UPDATE: Ryan Blaney’s penalty has now been rescinded after NASCAR found an issue with the damper template. It’s not the first time a penalty has been rescinded this season, but it is the first time NASCAR has overturned a penalty because of a mistake in their inspection process. The first penalty rescinded was because of an appeals panel, and NASCAR rescinded the Kaulig Racing penalties after the Hendrick penalties were overturned on appeal
NASCAR teams are always looking for ways to gain an advantage and work their way around these regulations. It does not seem that this will end anytime soon, but the amount of penalties being levied has been exhausting.