NASCAR Hits Michael McDowell, No. 34 Team with Penalties and a Hefty Fine After R&D Inspection

by Jonathan Howard

Well, another team this NASCAR season is facing L2-level penalties. Michael McDowell’s No. 34 team was hit hard. Just like Brad Keselowski earlier this year, this was a decision made after a random R&D selection. After each race, the top two cars are torn down for inspection, a few others are randomly selected to be taken by NASCAR for a detailed inspection.

Basically, this is the random drug test of motorsports. Checking at random after races for improper modifications is just part of the deal. This time, McDowell and his team were on the wrong end of things.

Michael McDowell and his team will face deductions of 100 owner points, 100 driver points, as well as 10 NASCAR Playoff Points. For Front Row Motorsports, crew chief Blake Harris will face a fine of $100,000 and is going to be suspended for the next four races of the season.

The issue with the No. 34 had to do with changes to the seams and body filler. Those types of changes are simply not allowed.

In the words of NASCAR, “The penalty comes under Sections 14.1 C, D and Q as well as Sections 14.5 A and B in the NASCAR Rule Book. Those rules apply to the body and overall vehicle assembly rules surrounding modification of a single source supplied part.”

Crew chief Blake Harris is going to be feeling this one in his pocketbook, that’s for sure.

Still 6th Place at Pocono

This weekend at Pocono Raceway was a wild one. We thought we saw Denny Hamlin make history, but then it was all wiped away. In the aftermath, there has now been further issues found. The Michael McDowell penalties are going to hurt heading into the ned of the season. If McDowell was able to win a race and get to the postseason, he’d be -10 playoff points in the hole.

Since the decision and the findings were made after Sunday night, the results will remain the same. McDowell is going to retain his 6th place finish from Pocono Raceway, but there’s a catch. If there was a tie-breaker of any kind needed for the postseason, the Pocono result cannot be used as the tiebreaker.

Michael McDowell Gets the Brad Keselowski Treatment

Look, let’s be honest with ourselves here – it doesn’t look like Michael McDowell is going to make the postseason. However, this really doesn’t help his odds. We saw what these penalties did to Brad Keselowski and his No. 6 RFK team. His season was shot in the foot before it really even began due to the major setback.

Although, it could have been worse for McDowell. According to the rules, NASCAR can take away up to 120 owner and driver points, up to 25 playoff points, and those suspensions can go up to six races. Oh, as for the fines, those can reach up to $20,000 – not something you want to have to deal with in the middle of a season.

Michael McDowell is currently 20th in the points standings with 447 points. This penalty will take him down to 347 points. Even after the penalty, McDowell will be ahead of Keselowski and his team. NASCAR isn’t messing around. Don’t modify those parts.