Denny Hamlin‘s race wins in both the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Darlington Raceway have been encumbered by NASCAR officials following post-race technical inspection.
NASCAR officials discovered the issues with the #11 FedEx Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry during their usual mid-week tear-down of select cars from Sunday’s Bojangles Southern 500. The rear suspension was found to be violating the rules and regulations; thus earning the driver and team an L1-level penalty as per the NASCAR rulebook. The rear suspension issue is similar to that which caused Joey Logano to have his only win this season encumbered back in the Richmond Spring race.
Hamlin’s crew chief, Mike Wheeler, has been fined $50,000 and suspended for two races with 25 owner points and 25 driver points being deducted as a further punishment. Joe Gibbs Racing has yet to announce whether or not they will appeal the penalty; which may defer Wheeler’s suspension for a number of races whilst the matter is resolved.
Additionally, Denny Hamlin’s NASCAR XFINITY Series win on Saturday has also been deemed encumbered due to similar issues with the rear-suspension on his #18 JGR Camry. This means that whilst Hamlin will be listed as the winner for both the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and the XFINITY Series races, he will lose all benefits of those race wins in the overall championship. This doesn’t matter to Denny in the XFINITY series, as he is ineligible anyway, but it would have put him in dire straights in the Cup series had he not won a few months ago in New Hampshire. This win means he remains safely locked into the championship playoffs that begin next weekend.
Penalties were also handed out to Dale Earnhardt Jr‘s #88 Hendrick Motorsports team after it was discovered after the race on Sunday that a number of lug-nuts weren’t tightened on his wheels. This earned him a safety violation penalty, meaning that crew chief Greg Ives will be fined $20,000 and will also be suspended from the race this weekend in Richmond. Travis Mack will serve as the interim crew chief.