July 7th, 2015
NASCAR made a clear message to all teams on Tuesday evening by dropping the hammer on Joe Gibbs Racing and specifically the Denny Hamlin team. During post-race inspection, NASCAR determined that the rear firewall had adjustments not approved by NASCAR. The exact verbiage by NASCAR will be below as it is lengthy.
This was a P5 level penalty, the maximum on NASCAR’s new easy to read penalty layout for fans. The penalties levied on the team are:
Crew chief Darian Grubb has been fined a total of $125,000.00, suspended from the next six championship events, and has been placed on probation for the next six months. Grubb can return at the race in Chicagoland.
Car chief Wesley Sherrill has been suspended from the next six championship events, and has been placed on probation for the next six months. Sherrill can return at the race in Chicagoland.
Driver Denny Hamlin has been docked a total of 75 championship points in the driver standings.
Team owner J.D. Gibbs has been docked a total of 75 championship points in the owner standings.
Joe Gibbs Racing responded to the penalty by indicating they would appeal the ruling, but Grubb and Sherrill would begin serving their suspensions starting this weekend at Pocono. This way, if the appeal fails, then both will still return at Chicagoland, site of the first race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Since Hamlin has a win on the year, this penalty should not derail his chances of qualifying for the Chase.
Here’s the list of exact infraction via the NASCAR rule book for 2014:
- 12-1 – Actions detrimental to stock car racing;
- 20-2.1 – Car body must be acceptable to NASCAR officials and meet the following requirements:
- K – Any device or ductwork that permits air to pass from one area of the interior of the car to another, or to the outside of the car, will not be permitted. This includes, but is not limited to, the inside of the car to the trunk area, or the floors, firewalls, crush panels and wheel wells passing air into or out of the car;
- L – All seams of the interior sheet metal and all interior sheet metal to exterior sheet metal contact point must be sealed and caulked. This includes, but is not limited to, floors, firewalls, wheel wells, package trays, crush panels and any removable covers;
- 20-3.4 – All references to the inspection surface in sub-section 20-3.4 have been determined with the front lower edge of both main frame rails set at six inches and the rear lower edge of both main frame rails set at eight inches. For driver protection, all firewalls, floors, tunnels, and access panels must be installed and completely secured in place when the car is in competition;
- 20-3.4.5 – A rear firewall, including any removable panels or access doors, constructed using magnetic sheet steel a minimum of 22 gage (0.031 inch thick), must be located between the trunk area and the driver’s compartment and must be welded in place. Block-off plates/covers used in rear firewalls in place of blowers, oil coolers, etc., must be constructed of 22 gage (0.031 inch thick) magnetic sheet steel. Block-off plates/covers must be installed with positive fasteners and sealed to prevent air leakage. Carbon fiber or aluminum block-off plates/covers will not be permitted.