Kaulig Racing wins final appeal of NASCAR penalty

Statements from NASCAR, Kaulig Racing and final appeals officer Bill Mullis

Ahead of the race at Phoenix Raceway, NASCAR confiscated parts from all four Hendrick Motorsports machines as well as the No. 31 Kaulig Racing machine. The hood louvers, a crucial aerodynamic part were confiscated from all five teams.

View statements from all parties below.

NASCAR originally issued a $100,000 fine and a crew chief suspension to all five. Teams were also docked 100 points and 10 playoff points.

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Hendrick Motorsports appealed their penalty. They won, seeing all the points restored. The $100,000 fine to all four Hendrick teams as well as the crew chief suspension remained.

Largest NASCAR fine in history: Hendrick Motorsports to appeal

NASCAR penalty to Hendrick Motorsports amended with appeal

A few days later, Kaulig Racing went into their appeal. The ruling was voted on by three different members than the Hendrick appeal and the result was also different. They elected to maintain the penalty issued to Kaulig only reducing the point penalty to 75 instead of the original 100.

NASCAR penalty upheld with slight modification after Kaulig appeal

The NASCAR Cup Series team elected to send their appeal to the Final Appeals Officer. It’s the final ruling on the case, the last effort the team had to reduce the penalty.

Kaulig Racing requests Final Appeal of NASCAR penalty

And, following today’s ruling, the team has won…

Final Appeal: Results

Upon hearing the testimony, the decisions of the Final Appeals Officer are:

– “That the Appellant violated the Rule(s) set forth in the Penalty Notice.”

– “That the FAO amends the original Penalty assessed by NASCAR to read:”

– “$100,000 fine and 4 race suspension for Trent Owens”

– “No loss of NASCAR Cup Series Championship Team Owner and Driver points or Playoff points”

“The decision of the Final Appeals Officer is final and binding on all parties.”

Bill Mullis: Statement from final appeals officer

Bill Mullis served as the final appeal officer.

Mullis issued a statement, “In the interest of fairness, NASCAR has requested that I remove the driver/owner race and playoff points from the penalty to Kaulig Racing. I have agreed to this request, per the Rule Book.”

“During its opening remarks, NASCAR stated it believes that the violations did occur, the penalties were appropriate and the three-person appeals panel ruled correctly. But, because the Kaulig infraction closely mirrored that of Hendrick Motorsports (modified louver at Phoenix Raceway), NASCAR requested I rule in the same manner as the three-person appeals panel following the Hendrick Motorsports appeal on March 29.”

“The information I heard in the room this morning created an overwhelming and unique circumstance. In fairness to the team and sanctioning body, as NASCAR documented in its remarks, this request is fully in the interest of fairness and consistency, and I agree.”

Kaulig Racing Statement

Justin Haley - Daytona 500 - Daytona International Speedway - NASCAR Cup Series
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 15: Justin Haley, driver of the #31 Cirkul Chevrolet, poses on the track during qualifying for the Busch Light Pole at Daytona International Speedway on February 15, 2023 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

“Kaulig Racing is pleased with the ruling of the Final Appeals Officer to amend the original L2 penalty issued by NASCAR following the confiscation of a louver at Phoenix Raceway,” the team statement opened.

“Regarding these unique circumstances, it means the world to us as an organization that the sanctioning body is working hard to ensure fairness and consistency across the board within our sport.”

The team concluded, “We are focused ahead on Talladega and look forward to getting out season back on track with Justin Haley.”

NASCAR Statement
NASCAR official - NASCAR Truck Series- Knoxville Raceway
KNOXVILLE, IOWA – JULY 08: A NASCAR official walks through the infield during practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Corn Belt 150 presented by Premier Chevy Dealers at Knoxville Raceway on July 08, 2021 in Knoxville, Iowa. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Following the ruling, NASCAR issued the following statement:

“NASCAR believes that Kaulig Racing committed the violations documented in the penalty notice, that the penalties were appropriate and that the three-person appeals panel ruled correctly when hearing the Kaulig appeal on April 5,” NASCAR opened in a statement following the ruling.

“However, in the interest of treating all competitors fairly, NASCAR today requested that the Final Appeals Officer remove the race and playoff points from the penalty. The Kaulig and Hendrick Motorsports violations involved the same modified part found during the same race weekend (modified louver at Phoenix Raceway), and with fairness and consistency top of mind, NASCAR requested that the FAO match the final Hendrick Motorsports penalty.”

“NASCAR believes that the updates made to the Rule Book will address similar issues in the future and keep its promise to the owners for strict penalties when single-source parts are modified.”

They concluded, “We are pleased with the swift resolution to today’s appeal, appreciate Bill Mullis’ ruling and now look forward to this weekend’s events at Talladega Superspeedway.”

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Justin Haley | Kaulig Racing | Phoenix Raceway | NASCAR