Front Row Motorsports has decided against appealing the 100-point penalty imposed upon the #34 driven by Michael McDowell, the team announced Tuesday.
After finishing sixth at Pocono on Sunday two weeks ago, the #34 car was found to have modified a part supplied from a Next Gen car vendor. Such components cannot be tampered with, and offenders would receive an L2 penalty that includes docking 100 points, ten playoff points, and fining the crew chief $100,000 and suspending them for four races. Extreme violations can result in being barred from the playoffs altogether.
Brad Keselowski from fellow Ford team RFK Racing was the first to suffer an L2 penalty after Atlanta in March.
With FRM dropping the appeal, crew chief Blake Harris‘ four-race ban begins Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, and he will not erturn until the regular season finale at Daytona International Speedway. Chris Yerges, who serves as FRM’s lead engineer and IT support, will take over as interim crew chief.
“After further assessing penalties levied against its #34 NASCAR Cup Series team, Front Row Motorsports has notified NASCAR that it will drop its appeal and accept the penalty,” reads a team statement. “The team has made internal changes in its build practices to ensure the issues leading to the penalties will not happen again in the future.
“Lead engineer, Chris Yerges, will serve as the interim crew chief for the #34 beginning this weekend at Michigan.”
Despite enjoying back-to-back top tens at Pocono and Indianapolis, McDowell is currently twenty-sixth in points due to the penalty and therefore needs to win to make the playoffs. Prior to the penalty, he had been twentieth in the standings which left him with somewhat of a shot at qualifying on points.