NASCAR: Why could Hendrick Motorsports be in trouble?

William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

Hendrick Motorsports are awaiting a decision from NASCAR after the hood louvers of each of their four cars were confiscated on Friday.

Prior to the Friday practice session for Sunday afternoon’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway, NASCAR noticed something with the louvers on each of the four Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets.

The louvers are the openings or vents in the hood which serve as a release point for ducts that transfer air out of the radiator.

After practice, the louvers were confiscated, and Rick Hendrick’s cars were forced to qualify and race with new ones.

All four Hendrick Motorsports drivers finished Sunday’s race in the top 10, with William Byron securing his second straight win. Kyle Larson finished in fourth place, Alex Bowman finished in ninth, and Chase Elliott replacement Josh Berry finished in a career-high 10th.

But this week, NASCAR is expected to make a decision on any potential penalties.

There is no guarantee that NASCAR will issue any penalties or even that a violation will be discovered, but the sanctioning body set the tone last year in year one of the Next Gen era.

NASCAR dropped the hammer on multiple teams that were found to have run with what was deemed to be an illegally modified part, and louvers are certainly among the many parts of the Next Gen car that aren’t allowed to be modified.

Brad Keselowski and his No. 6 RFK Racing team were docked 100 points in March, and Kevin Harvick and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team were docked 100 points in October.

Four races into the season, could Hendrick Motorsports be in similar trouble?

Bowman currently leads the point standings, with Byron, the only two-race winner thus far, and Larson close behind in fourth place and a fifth place tie, respectively.

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Berry is ineligible for Cup Series points since he competes full-time in the Xfinity Series. Elliott sits in 29th place after missing the last two races with a fractured left tibia.