Thursday, August 11, 2022

Michael McDowell and No. 34 Front Row Motorsports hit with L2-level penalty

NASCAR: GEICO 500 Qualifying
Marvin Gentry / USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR hit Cup Series driver Michael McDowell and the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports team with an L2-level penalty on Tuesday. This was due to an improperly modified part on the vehicle that finished sixth at Pocono Raceway last Sunday.

Modifying a part that came from a single source vendor is not allowed, as NASCAR referred to Sections 14.1 C, D and Q of the NASCAR Rule Book.

The penalty includes the deduction of 100 owner points and 100 driver points. Crew chief Blake Harris was fined $100,000 and will serve a four-race suspension. Additionally, if McDowell qualifies for the postseason, the team will also be deducted 10 playoff points. McDowell was 20th in the standings and had accumulated 447 total points following the Pocono race. After the penalty, he is now 26th and has 347 points.

At the Atlanta Motor Speedway race in March, Brad Keselowski and the No. 6 RFK Racing team also received a similar L2 penalty.

In January, NASCAR released a stricter penalty structure for the 2022 Cup Series season. This structure has a three-tiered system that goes from L1 to L3. 

Per NASCAR, penalty options for an L2 infraction include:

  • Points deductions: 75-120 points
  • Playoff points deductions: 10-25 points
  • Suspension of one or two crew members for 4-6 races
  • Fines: $100,000-$250,000

The Pocono race saw NASCAR crack down on a few other drivers. Race winner Denny Hamlin and second-place finisher Kyle Busch both had illegal tape on the front of their cars and were disqualified after inspection. This led to third-place finisher Chase Elliott being declared the winner.

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