Chase Elliott is the second driver in as many weeks to feel the sting of an L-1 penalty issued by NASCAR after post-race inspection.
Kevin Harvick bounced back from his L-1 penalty from Las Vegas by winning at Phoenix, then cheekily trolling NASCAR by patting the back of his windshield after taking the checkered flag. Chase Elliott will no doubt be hoping for the same kind of bounce-back (especially since it would mean he’d earn his first career NASCAR Cup Series win in California), though he’ll have to reach under his car to make the same point.
Elliott and his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports team were indeed issued an L-1 penalty of their own by NASCAR today, stemming from issues with the rear suspension and trailing arm.
The full explanation of the penalty reads as such:
"Truck trailing arm spacer/pinion angle shim surfaces must be in complete contact at all points, at all times. Failure to adhere to that can create additional sideforce and is a violation."
The 9 team will lose car chief Josh Kirk for two races, and crew chief Alan Gustafson will have to pay a $50,000 fine. Perhaps more importantly, Elliott loses 25 points.
The silver lining is that the infraction doesn’t wipe out a victory for playoff consideration since Elliott finished third in the TicketGuardian 500. L-1 penalties over the last two seasons have mostly been issued to race winners.
Thus, the effect of this one is likely to fall somewhere in-between the 2017 penalty given to Joey Logano, which proved devastating, and Harvick’s sanction, which barely amounted to a slap on the wrist since it came in the middle of a three-race win streak. it could potentially come into play late in the season if Elliott is in the midst of a tight battle to make the playoffs on points, but there’s a solution to that problem: Win a race.
And don’t get busted for any violations while doing it, obviously.