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NASCAR slams McDowell and team for illegally modified part


CHARLOTTE, NC — NASCAR imposed another round of massive penalties Tuesday, this time against Michael McDowell and Front Row Motorsports, for illegal modifications discovered after McDowell’s sixth-place finish at Pocono Raceway.

NASCAR fined crew chief Blake Harris $100,000 and suspended him for four races. McDowell was docked with 100 driver points and Front Row with 100 owner points.

If the No. 34 team wins one of the five remaining regular season races to qualify for the playoffs, McDowell will be docked 10 playoff points.

The L2-level penalty was imposed for an illegal modification of a one-source part — which is strictly forbidden on NASCAR’s new next-gen car.

“To ensure all of these things stay overboard, there has to be a culture shift from the way the teams and NASCAR have done business,” said Scott Miller, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition in January when announcing the penalty structure of the next generation.

“This deterrent model has more meat and more meaningful penalties, but I think we all thought that with the introduction of the new car it was about time.”

The front row penalties come after NASCAR disqualified Pocono winner Denny Hamlin and runner-up Kyle Busch when their Toyotas failed post-race inspection at Pocono. Chase Elliott finished third and did not lead a lap but received the win after the DQs.

NASCAR found illegal tape on the front bumper of Joe Gibbs Racing cars during its post-race inspection.

The disqualification placed McDowell sixth in the final order at Pocono. Both his Ford and the Chevrolet driven by JTG Daugherty Chevrolet’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had been randomly selected for further inspection at NASCAR’s Concord R&D center.

McDowell was 20th overall before the penalty with a career-best eight top 10 finishes.

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