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Hendrick Motorsports receives biggest penalty in NASCAR history for illegal parts

NASCAR penalized all four Hendrick Motorsports Cup Series teams, as well as Kaulig Racing's No. 31 team for unapproved parts modifications at Phoenix Raceway.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Hendrick Motorsports received the largest cumulative fine in NASCAR history for unapproved parts modifications found during inspection at Phoenix Raceway last weekend, NASCAR officials announced Wednesday. 

All four of Hendrick's Cup Series teams — driven by William Byron, Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman and Josh Berry — were penalized with the loss of 100 owner points, 100 driver points and 10 playoff points. The No. 9 team, driven by Berry in relief of Chase Elliott, was not penalized any driver points because Berry is ineligible for Cup Series points. Each crew chief was fined $100,000 and suspended for the next four NASCAR Cup Series races. 

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NASCAR has handed out larger individual fines than the $100,000 penalties, but Hendrick's combined $400,000 is the largest total penalty in NASCAR history. 

The No. 31 team of Kaulig Racing, driven by Justin Haley, was hit with the same L-2 penalty. 

The penalties were handed down Wednesday after NASCAR officials confiscated the hood louvers of all five cars before Sunday's race at Phoenix Raceway. NASCAR cited section in its rulebook, which deals with the radiator ducts. All five teams were found with unapproved modification of single-source parts. 

Hendrick Motorsports issued a statement Wednesday saying it plans to appeal the penalty. The organization will not request the deferral of suspensions, meaning all four of its crew chiefs will not be at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend. 

Hood louvers are openings or vents in the hood that serve as a release point for ducts that transfer out of the radiator, according to NASCAR. The system is intended to separate engine performance from aerodynamics. 

Byron won the race for his second victory of the season. All three of his teammates finished in the top 10. Before the penalty, Bowman was first in NASCAR driver points. He's now 23rd, with Byron 29th, Larson 32nd and Haley 49th with -40 points. 

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