The Front Row Motorsports team has been hit with several sanctions following an inspection of Michael McDowell’s NASCAR Cup Series Ford Mustang that finished sixth at Pocono Raceway on Sunday.
McDowell’s was one of the cars randomly selected for inspection, and a closer look at NASCAR’s R&D facility found that a single-source supplied part common across cars had been illegally modified.
The specific part was not announced, but the violation had to do with “altering seams/body filler.”
McDowell was docked 100 driver points and the team 100 manufacturer points, but crew chief Blake Harris was hit the hardest with a $ 100,000 fine and a four-race suspension.
McDowell will also lose 10 playoff points if he qualifies for the post-season. He has not yet won a race that would secure him a spot and is now 26th in the standings after the penalty, with only the top 16 able to qualify.
If he does win a race, he will lose an additional 10 playoff points as part of Pocono punishment. McDowell finished the race eighth on track, but was promoted to sixth after first and second place finishers Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch were disqualified due to illegal strips of tape discovered under the sponsor wraps on their Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camrys.
Since McDowell’s penalty came after the results were made official, he gets to keep his sixth place finish, but it will not count in any tie-breaker situations where finishes are considered, according to Fox Sports reporter Bob Pockrass.
NASCAR initiated a new penalty system this year in concert with the release of the new Next Gen Cup Series car.
“This deterrence model has more meat in it, more meaningful penalties, but I think we all thought that it was time for this with the introduction of the new car,” NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller said in January.
The Associated Press contributed to this report