NASCAR came down hard on the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Sprint Cup Series team after the car failed post-race inspection at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday following the Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com. According to the penalty announcement from NASCAR on Tuesday, both the No. 11 team and driver Denny Hamlin were docked 75 points apiece. Crew chief Darian Grubb was fined a total of $125,000 and suspended for six races. He was also placed on NASCAR probation for six months. Car chief Wesley Sherrill was also suspended for six races and placed on probation for six months.
In its penalty announcement, NASCAR cited violation of rules 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing), 20-2.1 (car body must be acceptable to NaSCAR officals and meet the following requirements: K-Any device or ductwork that peermits 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 our 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 refeerences to the inspection surface in sub-section 20-2.4 have been determined with the front 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.) and 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 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).
Altogether, NASCAR determined that the violations called for a P5-level penalty. The minimum P5 penalty is the deduction of 50 driver and owner points, a $75,000 fine, and a six-race suspension for the crew chief and another other team members NASCAR deems as involved in the rules violations. The larger fine and points deductions were a result of the violations being discovered post-race.
According to a statement released from Joe Gibbs Racing, the team will appeal the penalty, but Grubb and Sherrill will go ahead and serve their suspensions, beginning with the race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., on Aug. 3. Since the team plans to appeal, Grubb and Sherrill could continue on in their duties and wait until the appeal is heard before serving the suspensions, if still necessary, after the appeal.
“Joe Gibbs Racing is aware of the penalty issued by NASCAR today regarding the No. 11 team’s post-race inspection infraction following Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race in Indianapolis,” the JGR statement read. “JGR will plan to appeal the penalty; however, crew chief Darian Grubb and car chief Wesley Sherrill will begin to serve their suspensions, starting this weekend in Pocono.”