Chase Elliott’s runner-up result at Chicagoland deemed encumbered

Barry Cantrell/NKP

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

Chase Elliott’s strong day at Chicagoland Speedway was all for naught. His runner-up result has been deemed encumbered.

NASCAR announced Tuesday that Elliott’s No. 24 Chevrolet failed post-race inspection at the NASCAR Research and Development Center after it was observed with “modification of components to affect the aerodynamic properties of the vehicle.”

Elliott’s finish was deemed encumbered per section 12.10 of the NASCAR Rule Book. The No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) team was penalized 15 points in both the drivers and owners championships, and Elliott lost the playoff point associated with his win in Stage 2 of Sunday’s Tales of the Turtles 400.

HMS crew chief Alan Gustafson and car chief Joshua Kirk were each suspended for the next Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, with Gustafson also receiving a $25,000 fine.

HMS won’t repeal the penalties. Kenny Francis will serve as the interim crew chief for the No. 24 team, with Kevin Hulstein substituting as the team’s car chief. Francis previously worked with Elliott during the Georgian’s five-race Cup Series run in 2015. The Floridian has 17 wins, 75 top-five finishes and 149 top 10s as a Cup Series crew chief.

Elliott dropped from sixth to eighth in the championship standings as a result of the penalty. He currently holds an 18-point advantage on the Round of 12 cutoff.

Accompanying Elliott’s stiff penalty were two minor safety infractions. The cars of both Matt Kenseth (No. 20, Cup Series) and Darrell Wallace Jr. (No. 98, XFINITY Series) were observed with lug nuts not properly installed at the end of their respective races.

Crew chiefs Jason Ratcliff (No. 20, Joe Gibbs Racing) and Jonathon Hanson (No. 98, Biagi-Denbeste Racing) were fined $10,000 and $5,000, respectively for the infractions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *