UPDATE # 3 - In a press release earlier this afternoon Joe Gibbs Racing announced that they were going to appeal the fines and penalties given to the No. 11 team from NASCAR. Although JGR is going to appeal the penalties, Darian Grubb (crew chief) and Wesley Sherrill (car chief) will both begin to serve there suspensions this weekend in Pocono. One would have to imagine that this is because nobody wants them to miss any of the chase races should the appeal not go through. Given how hard NASCAR came down on the No. 11 team it’s hard to see them reducing the penalties. There is no word on when NASCAR will hear the appeal or when a decision will be made.
UPDATE #2 - NASCAR dropped the hammer on the No. 11 team. Hamlin was docked 75 points in the point standings. The Crew Chief on the No. 11 team (Grubb) has been suspended for six (6) races and fined $125,000 as well. Also, the car chief for the No. 11 team was suspended for six (6) races. NASCAR made it clear that they were not happy with the No.11 team.
UPDATE #1 - NASCAR is expected to rule later on today (Tuesday) in regards to whether or not they are going to penalize the No. 11 team.
Be sure to check back for more updates.
In the latest NASCAR news: after using a unique fuel strategy in order to help win the Brickyard 400 (which fell short when on his second to last pit stop when the gas man did not manage to get the last five gallons of fuel into the race car); Denny Hamlin’s Fed Ex Toyota failed post race inspection. According to NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp, there were “possible issues with several rear firewall block-off plates”. Should the block-off plates have detatched during the race, it would allow air to flow from inside the car and create more downforce, resulting in more grip in the car. Could this explain why a car so poor in practice with the 30th fastest speed; qualified for the Crown Royal John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard in 27th spot but finished 3rd when the dust settled? One has to wonder where the Joe Gibbs Racing entry was able to find that added speed in order to land himself a top five finish. Was this the way they found it? The car has been sent to NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord North Carolina. The 18 car of Kyle Busch and 24 car of Jeff Gordon will be accompanying the Fed Ex Toyota as per standard operating procedure. Both of those cars passed post-race inspection.That said, if Denny’s car is deemed to have had a “competitive advantage” with the sealing in the rear firewall block-off plates a likely loss of driver and owner points along with a fine are on the way. Should there be more however? Should the “Top 5″ stat also be removed. What if he had won the race? Should the win be erased and given to the second place driver? It is a question I have pondered for a while. I personally believe it should be stricken from the stat sheet. In my opinion I personally believe if you are caught cheating, your position should be rendered to the 43rd spot on the end results. NASCAR needs to put some teeth into its punishments. Ten points are not enough to deter blatant efforts to gain a “competitive advantage”. Let’s do the math: if Hamlin is found in breach of the NASCAR rule and is deducted ten points, by finishing in and around his qualifying effort of 27th (let us say anywhere between 20th and 30th) he would have earned between 14 and 24 points (without leading a lap). By finishing in 3rd he earned 41 points (plus one for leading a lap). Simple subtraction says he gained 17-27 points by finishing third. Again, if found guilty, and a ten point penalty assigned (as per typical), he will still have gained 7-17 points through cheating. Not fair I say to the others who weren’t cheating. As Jeff Gordon found out last year when trying to get into the Chase, 1 point can make all the difference. Michael Eliadis is a contributor at beyondtheflag.com on the FanSided network. Follow us on Twitter at: @Beyond_the_flag and be sure to “Like” us on Facebook.