AVONDALE, Ariz. — Jeff Gordon, Vice Chairman of Hendrick Motorsports, says having parts taken from all four cars on Friday “wrecked our minds heavily as it came in (Sunday) and will certainly continue.”
Gordon made the comments after Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron took his second straight win and all four Hendrick cars finished in the top 10 at Phoenix.
MORE: What drivers said in Phoenix
NASCAR took over the hood louvres (vents) on the cars of Byron, Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman and Josh Berry after Friday’s practice. NASCAR also took a hood louver off Justin Haley’s Kaulig Racing car for Saturday’s qualifying.
NASCAR said Friday that it has taken the Hendrick hood slats this week for further evaluation at its R&D center in Concord, North Carolina. NASCAR stated that if there were penalties for the team, they could come this week.
One concern for Hendrick Motorsports is that in this era of single-sourced parts, NASCAR has increased the fines for modifications to those parts without pre-approval.
Changes to parts from a Next Gen single-source supplier are an L2 penalty. Such punishment may include some or all of the following:
A loss of 75 points for the driver and/or team owner
A loss of 10 playoff points for the driver and/or team owner
A four-race suspension for certain crew members
A $100,000 fine
If the penalty is considered a more severe L3 violation for modifying a Next Gen supplied part of a single resource, the penalty may include one or more of the following:
A loss of 120 points for the driver and/or team owner
A loss of 25 playoff points for the driver and/or team owner
A six-race suspension for certain crew members
A fine of $250.00
Gordon said Hendrick officials have been in touch with NASCAR about the hood slats.
“We had a conversation, will continue to have conversations with NASCAR,” Gordon said. “Each situation is more or less unique, but this is more unique than I’ve seen in a while where there’s been a lot of back and forth on this particular part, especially for this circuit because they’ve done a parity test in the wind tunnel.
“I think it really opened the door for some miscommunication. I don’t want to go further than that. We’ll just continue to share all the facts and be transparent with NASCAR, as we’ve been so far.”
Even after the hood slats were taken on Friday, Hendrick won the pole with Larson and Byron qualified third. Larson (201 laps) and Byron (64) led a combined 83.6 percent of the 317-lap race.
Byron’s crew chief, Rudy Fugle, praised the organisation’s focus for not letting the hood slats interfere with their weekend preparations.
“It’s a test of mental strength,” Fugle said. That’s exactly what it takes to be really good at this series. We need to think about what the task is. We need to focus on this weekend. We have all done that.”
Gordon said the strength of the organization showed that the Hendrick cars ran so well in the race.
“These guys have speed in the car,” said Gordon. “There was nothing, not last week, not this week, that brought them to Victory Lane, except a lot of hard work and great teamwork.”
Read more about NASCAR
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Jeff Gordon: Seized Parts ‘Weigh Us Heavy’ At Hendrick Motorsports originally appeared on NBCSports.com