NASCAR driver now has negative points after huge penalty

Justin Haley, Kaulig Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Justin Haley, Kaulig Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Justin Haley now has negative points in the NASCAR Cup Series standings after being penalized following the race at Phoenix Raceway.

Following Sunday afternoon’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway, one which was won by Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron, much of the focus turned to Hendrick Motorsports because of the fact that all four of their Chevrolets had had their hood louvers confiscated by NASCAR after Friday’s practice session.

Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet, Kyle Larson’s No. 5 Chevrolet, Josh Berry’s No. 9 Chevrolet, and Alex Bowman’s No. 48 Chevrolet all qualified and raced with new louvers.

But Hendrick Motorsports weren’t the only team from which NASCAR confiscated this particular part. Before qualifying on Saturday, they also discovered something with the louvers of Justin Haley’s No. 31 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet, and they confiscated those as well.

We saw last year that NASCAR was not afraid to drop the hammer on teams that were found to have illegally modified a single source part of the Next Gen car.

There was speculation that the same could happen here, and that is indeed what happened. NASCAR ultimately decided on Wednesday to penalize all five offending teams 100 points and 10 playoff points in the owner standings. $100,000 fines and four-week crew chief suspensions were also a part of this hefty penalty.

The drivers of these cars (except for Berry, since he is a full-time Xfinity Series driver who is currently replacing the injured Chase Elliott) were also docked 100 points and 10 playoff points. Bowman dropped from first to 23rd place in the standings. Byron dropped from fourth to 29th, and Larson dropped from a fifth place tie to 29th.

Haley, meanwhile, dropped from 24th to last, as he now has a negative point total. He is officially listed in 37th place with -40 points, though you could technically argue that his rank is 8,022,090,612th, since that is how many people are in the world right now and every single non-NASCAR driver has zero points.

Hendrick Motorsports had all four of their drivers in the top 10 on Sunday afternoon. In addition to Byron winning, Larson finished in fourth place and Bowman took the lead of the standings for the first time in his career with a ninth place effort. Berry finished in a career-high 10th in just his second start as Elliott’s replacement. Haley finished in 27th.

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Both Hendrick Motorsports and Kaulig Racing are expected to appeal their penalties.