Denny Hamlin fell from 11th to 21st in the standings after NASCAR docked him 75 points for not having rear firewall block-off plates sealed off during the Sprint Cup race Sunday.
Hamlin’s crew chief and car chief were each suspended for six races and placed on probation for six months, while Joe Gibbs Racing was also fined $125,000.
Sporting News reported that the team will appeal the suspension, but the team is likely to still qualify for the Chase after winning Talladega earlier this year.
The infraction was deemed a P5 penalty, the second-highest rating on NASCAR’s P1 to P6 scale.
According to Bob Pockrass, “The block-off plates are intended to seal the driver’s compartment to keep hot fluids, smoke and fire from getting to the driver. Air flow through the block-off plates could help with the car’s aerodynamics during an event, and it is an obvious safety issue. According to the NASCAR rule book, a P5 penalty is serious enough that intent does not matter.”