The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams of Austin Dillon, Clint Bowyer, and Daniel Suárez have been given L1-level penalties for various infractions during Sunday’s AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway.
Dillon, who finished twenty-sixth, broke rules regarding the splitter, which did not meet NASCAR specifications. As a result, crew chief Justin Alexander was fined $25,000, while car chief Greg Ebert was suspended for the upcoming Cup points race at Kansas Speedway. He is already locked into the playoffs by virtue of his Daytona 500 win.
Bowyer and Suárez’s teams were discovered to have violated rules regarding the rear window. The former’s rear window brace was not sturdy during the race, meaning the window was not rigid. In the latter’s case, the #19’s rear window decklid was not sealed properly. The two drivers finished in the top five, Bowyer in second behind Stewart-Haas Racing team-mate Kevin Harvick and Suárez scoring his best career finish of third.
As punishment for their infractions, crew chiefs Mike Bugarewicz and Scott Graves were each fined $50,000. Car chiefs Jerry Cook and Todd Brewer were suspended for the next two points races at Kansas and Charlotte Motor Speedway. As the penalty applies to points races, while neither can work with their teams for Charlotte’s Coca-Cola 600, they may do so at the preceding Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race.
Furthermore, Bowyer and Suárez were deducted 20 points each from the Driver’s Championship, while also losing 20 points in the Owner’s Championship. This drops Bowyer form fourth to fifth in the standings, though he is still guaranteed a spot in the playoffs due to his Martinsville Speedway victory. For Suárez, he falls from seventeenth to twentieth.
“We had a minor part failure due to the heavy loads and track conditions experienced at Dover,” SHR competition director Greg Zipadelli stated. “It had no competitive impact, and our race car fit all the templates and passed all the inspections throughout the race weekend, including pre- and post-race.”
The three were not the only drivers penalized for the weekend. Bowyer’s team-mate Kurt Busch, who finished fifth, had an unsecured lug not during post-race inspection, resulting in crew chief Billy Scott being fined $10,000. In the Xfinity Series, race winner Justin Allgaier suffered an L1 penalty for an illegal rear suspension piece, resulting in a $25,000 fine, a 25-point penalty, and the loss of crew chief Jason Burdett for two races. In addition to Dillon, Richard Childress Racing‘s Xfinity program also had the same penalty as its Cup counterpart; Jeb Burton, who finished twelfth in just his second race of the year, also had a splitter violation, resulting in crew chief Nick Harison receiving a $10,000 fine and car chief Michael Scearce being suspended for the next race.