Tue, 26 Sep 2023

NASCAR handed down heavy punishment to the Stewart-Haas Racing Team on Wednesday over a "counterfeit part" found on the No. 14 car after Monday's Coca-Cola 600, leading to hefty fines, points reductions and the banishment of the team's crew chief for the next six races.

The SHR team was docked 120 points -- in both owner and driver Chase Briscoe's driver standings -- meaning Briscoe will fall from 17th to 31st overall with 172 points instead of his previous 292 total. Briscoe's playoff point total was also hit with a 25-point reduction.

Crew chief John Klausmeier was reprimanded severely, tagged with a $250,000 fine on top of being forced to sit out for half of this season's remaining 12 races. His next eligible race will be the Pocono 400 on July 23.

These are the maximum penalties allowed under the sport's written deterrence bylaws. Rules against teams faking Next Gen single-source vendor-supplied parts are intended to prevent teams from creating unfair downforce.

The foul was uncovered during a secondary random inspection of the vehicle in question, the No. 14 car driven by Briscoe on Monday. Inspectors found a counterfeit engine NACA duct, according to NASCAR senior vice president of competition Elton Sawyer.

"We would much rather be talking about the phenomenal racing we just had at Charlotte Motor Speedway than penalties," Sawyer said, calling his team "the custodians of the garage." Sawyer added, "With them knowing the severity of the penalty ... Talking with the race team, they've got some process and procedures within their race shop, that they feel they need to button up."

In accepting the punishment, a statement from SHR competition director Greg Zipadelli explained, "We had a quality control lapse and a part that never should've been on a car going to the racetrack ended up on the No. 14 car at Charlotte. We accept NASCAR's decision and will not appeal."

The ruling comes one day after NASCAR also penalized driver Chase Elliott, suspending him for one race after he intentionally crashed into Denny Hamlin in Monday's race.

--Field Level Media

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