Well, this isn’t how Hendrick Motorsports wanted to start the weekend in Phoenix. All four cars have had their hood louvers taken. NASCAR officials want to inspect the parts further. Hendrick teams were allowed to use the louvers for practice, and they were taken afterward.
This is going to really throw a wrench into things for Hendrick Motorsports. NASCAR has a hardline stance on modifying parts without manufacturers’ or their own approval. These hood louvers are the slots you see on the hood of the car that allow air to exit, cooling the car.
NASCAR announced that there will be no penalty assessed for this weekend. The Research & Development Center will look at the parts and any penalties will be assessed next week.
It is worth noting that Kyle Larson led the field in practice. You can see a 3-D Model of the parts here. They allow air to come out of the radiator and keep the car cool. They aren’t just the parts that you see on the hoods, there is a frame that they are attached to.
The reason why NASCAR had a long practice on Friday was to give teams and drivers time to get used to the new aero package. A two-inch spoiler and fewer strakes on the diffuser under the car – when the cars hit the track downforce will be reduced by about 30%.
Hendrick Motorsports Will Race As Normal
So, with no potential penalty coming until next week, Hendrick Motorsports will have to just sweat it out. While they will try to race as normal this weekend, you can’t help but think about what might be around the corner.
Let’s just say what it is, this doesn’t help how non-Hendrick fans see the organization. When you give folks a chance to call you a cheater and you’re the top team in the Cup Series, that happens. No matter how they perform this weekend fans will still point and question it.
Phoenix was kind to the Chevys once again. The United Rentals Work United 500 might be another Chevy show. Larson led practice and Alex Bowman was third. Now that they have had to switch their louvers to backups, who knows how it affects their performances?
Hendrick Motorsports might be the first team to get a big penalty this season. We know how that went for Brad Keselowski last season. However, until NASCAR announces its findings, we don’t know if Hendrick did anything wrong.