As explained in the main story regarding Joe Gibbs Racing’s P5 penalty for post-race infractions following Sunday’s Brickyard 400, NASCAR inspectors found issues with rear block-off plates on Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 car after he finished third.
If airflow is allowed through the plates – which are meant to keep things like smoke and fire from entering the driver’s compartment – the car can receive an aerodynamic advantage.
JGR has suffered six-race suspensions for Hamlin’s crew chief (Darian Grubb, who also got fined $125,000) and car chief (Wesley Sherrill), plus a loss of 75 driver’s and owner’s championship points respectively for Hamlin and J.D. Gibbs.
Those punishments are relatively in line with similar ones that Roush Fenway Racing took in 2008 after Carl Edwards won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Following Edwards’ win in the UAW-Dodge 400, the cover for the oil tank container was found missing on his car in post-race inspection. Like with the plates, a missing oil tank cover can help provide better aerodynamics.
This particular violation, which would appear to go with what’s covered in a P5 penalty in the current NASCAR rules, led to Edwards losing 100 driver points and the 10 bonus points from his Vegas win that would’ve been used to seed him in that year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Additionally, team owner Jack Roush was docked 100 owner points and Edwards’ crew chief at the time, Bob Osborne, was fined $100,000 and suspended for six races.
In the immediate aftermath, then-Roush Fenway team president Geoff Smith said: “This is classic 16th century punishment where you get your fingers cut off for stealing a penny.” However, the team eventually chose not to appeal the Vegas penalties.
As for JGR, they have decided to appeal their penalties from Sunday’s race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. However, they’ve also confirmed that Grubb and Sherrill will immediately begin serving their suspensions starting with this weekend’s race at Pocono.