NASCAR have suspended Darian Grubb, Denny Hamlin’s crew chief after the race at the weekend. Hamlin finished in third position but the car failed the post race inspection at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. As well as being suspended for the next six races, through to the 6th September, the crew chief also faces a $125,000 fine.
This means that Hamlin will be without this crew member as well as another member Wesley Sherrill who was also suspended. This is a vital part of the season for Hamlin as he will be trying to tune up his performances ready for the Chase which starts on the 14th September and they will not be able to return to the team until the day of this race. All drivers will be working hard to make sure that their cars are performing at their best and that they are driving well, to increase their chances of doing well at the important final stages of the championships.
Joe Gibbs Racing have announced that will appeal this penalty but while they are waiting the team members will sit out. They are allowed to compete during the penalty process but if it is not turned around they will have to start their suspension form that point, which means that they could be sitting out vital races in the Chase.
There were further punishments as well with Hamlin and the team own Joe Gibbs having 75 points each taken from their scores. This meant Hamlin dropped from 11th to 21st which was huge, but as race winners qualify for the Chase and he has a race win under his belt, it should not matter.
The reason for the ban was the fact that there were some issues with the rear firewall of the drivers compartment. It could create more down force if it was loose or missing and they were given a P5 infraction which is part of the new scale of penalties this season and clearly defines the punishments given. This is a very harsh penalty and the team had greater punishment because it was discovered after the race rather than before it.