Denny Hamlin’s two Darlington wins encumbered; crew chiefs each fined, suspended two races
NASCAR announced Wednesday that Denny Hamlin’s Cup and Xfinity series wins this past weekend at Darlington Raceway were encumbered because of rear suspension violations.
Denny Hamlin was extremely fast at Darlington last weekend. Perhaps too fast.
The No. 11 team is facing multiple fines as well as the win becoming encumbered as a result of a rear suspension violation. Crew chief Mike Wheeler has been fined $50,000 and suspended for two NASCAR Cup Series points events while the team has been docked 25 driver and owner points.
This means Hamlin will be without his crew chief for the start of the NASCAR playoffs when the Cup Series heads to Chicagoland Speedway in a couple weeks. Hamlin and former teammate Joey Logano were both penalized for last week's Xfinity Series race, which Hamlin also won.
Mike Wheeler, crew chief for Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota in the Cup Series, has been suspended for two races, meaning he would miss the Sept. 17 playoff opener at Chicagoland Speedway. .
While Hamlin will be the winner of record for both races, he will not get credit for the five playoff points from the NASCAR Cup victory in the Bojangles’ Southern 500 because of an L1 penalty for violating section 20.14.2 (rear suspension) of the NASCAR Rule Book.
Joe Gibbs Racing later announced it wouldn’t appeal the penalty.
Hamlin will fall to ninth in the Monster Energy Series playoff standings. Wheeler was fined $50,000, and the team and driver were assessed deductions of 25 points apiece.
Hamlin will remain fifth in the Cup Series standings, 24 points ahead of Brad Keselowski. The top 10 finishers in the regular season will earn playoff points bonuses.
Hamlin’s Xfinity team also was assessed an L1-level penalty for violating section 20.14.2 (rear suspension) in its Saturday victory. JGR Xfinity team crew chief Eric Phillips has been fined $25,000 and will be suspended for the next two races. The team also was penalized 25 owner points.
NASCAR also announced the No. 22 Team Penske Xfinity car of Joey Logano was assessed an L1-level penalty for violating sections 20.14.2 (rear suspension) after its runner-up finish to Hamlin Saturday.
Crew chief Greg Erwin was fined $25,000 and suspended from two races, the team was assessed with the loss of 25 owner points. Logano’s finish also was ruled encumbered.