Michael McDowell, Front Row Motorsports, received a Level 2 penalty for illegally modifying the Next Generation segment

NASCAR Cup Series driver Michael McDowell and Team #34 at Front Row Motorsports received a L2-level penalty on Tuesday for an incorrectly adjusted part on the car that finished sixth at Pocono Raceway in July.

Modification of a part that came from a single source vendor is not permitted, as NASCAR noted in Sections 14.1 C, D, and Q of the NASCAR Rule Book. The violation was discovered after NASCAR returned McDowell’s car to its research and development center in Concord, North Carolina, after Sunday’s race.

The penalty includes a 100 owner points and 100 driver points deduction. Crew chief Blake Harris has been fined $100,000 and will serve a four-race suspension. Additionally, if McDowell qualifies for the post-season, 10 points will be deducted from the team as well. McDowell was 20th in the standings and collected 447 total points after the Pocono race. After the penalty kick, he is now 26th and has 347 points.

Front Row Motorsports appealed the sentence, allowing Harris to serve as McDowell’s crew chief in Indianapolis. After finishing eighth in Indy, the team announced on Tuesday that it had dropped its appeal, saying in a statement They have made changes to their build process “to ensure that issues that lead to sanctions do not recur in the future.” Chris Yurges, the team’s lead engineer, will serve as interim crew chief while Harris serves his suspension.

At Atlanta Motor Speedway in March, Brad Keselowski and the #6 Racing Team VRFK He also received a similar L2 penalty to commit a similar offence. The team appealed the penalty, but was unsuccessful in this.

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

According to NASCAR, penalty options for an L2 offense include:

  • Points Discount: 75-120 points
  • Playoff points discount: 10-25 points
  • One or two crew members suspended for 4-6 races
  • Fines: $100,000 – $250,000

McDowell’s team penalty was the third major NASCAR penalty for technical fouls stemming from the Pocono weekend. on Saturday, NASCAR has issued an L1-level penalty against both Petty GMS racing cars After discovering a fault in the team’s swing arm groups.

Pocono winner Denny Hamlin and runner-up Kyle Busch were then disqualified after NASCAR officials discovered in a post-race check that both Joe Gibbs Racing cars It had extra layers of vinyl on the bottom roll, giving their cars an aerodynamic advantage over NASCAR specs. Gibbs’ team did not resume the penalty kick, and third-placed Chase Elliott won.

The massive penalty kick against Front Row Motorsports puts a huge strain on what was the best season of Michael McDowell’s career. The 37-year-old veteran driver and 2021 Daytona 500 champion broke a previous career high in the top 10 so far, and his 16.1 finish average was the best of his career. McDowell’s best finish so far is third at Sonoma in June.