During the initial inspection two days before Sunday’s Phoenix race, NASCAR officials found a potentially problematic issue in Hendrick Motorsports cars. Concerned about the louvers providing an aerodynamic advantage, the officials removed and sent the hood louvers from all four HMS cars to NASCAR’s R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina, for further examination.
Although no penalty for the team or the drivers was announced for this weekend, the officials revealed that penalties, if any, will be announced and levied next week after the examination. The governing body explained that the louvers can serve as a release point for ducts that transfer air out of the radiator. Hence, any modifications might provide an unfair advantage to the HMS cars.
However, in a recent interview with Fox, HMS Vice Chairman Jeff Gordon claimed that the louvers do not provide any special advantages to the cars. In fact, Gordon claimed that the team’s performances in Saturday’s practice and on Sunday’s race proved that the louvers had no impact on the vehicles. He also revealed that the team has been in talks with the governing body about the confiscated parts.
Jeff Gordon said the Hendrick performance the last two days shows that the louvers being taken had no impact on their cars and that they have been in communication with NASCAR over the confiscated parts. pic.twitter.com/ysgPTFFY9h
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) March 13, 2023
Well, all the four Hendrick Motorsports driver did finish their races in the top 10 last weekend at Phoenix Raceway, even without the louvers. However, despite the results and Gordon’s arguments, NASCAR fans didn’t seem to buy the explanations.
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Why fans didn’t buy Hendrick Motorsports VC’s explanation?
Many fans believe that Hendrick Motorsports has always tried to find a way around NASCAR’s rule book. Furthermore, a few others accused the team of changing more than just hood louvers to gain a competitive advantage against other teams. Sharing their theories on Twitter, fans wrote,
Hahaha it’s a classic cheat distraction. They know what they were doing. Dale Jr talked openly about doing just that. Make one cheat so obvious that they can’t find the big one. Both Larson and Byron top two the whole day. It’s OBVIOUS.
— Shane Dageforde (@SDaggerStudios) March 13, 2023
Many accused HMS of making underhand modifications to the cars, while distracting NASCAR with an obvious one.
Real question is did they do something with the Louvers for NASCAR to find while to hide what they were really trying to get away with??
— Jaymin Bernhwrdt (@bernhwrdt) March 13, 2023
Have something blatant get caught so 3 other things get by. A tactic as old as the rule book.
— Ryan Lewis (@Ryan_Lewis_64) March 13, 2023
A few fans also made sarcastic remarks about Gordon’s diplomacy.
@JeffGordonWeb would be a good politician
— Ryan (@RyanECU) March 13, 2023
Meh. What’s he gonna say. Defense attorneys defend guilty people all the time.
— Thomas D. Skaggs (@FireballDoowah) March 13, 2023
The final decision regarding the hood louvers is pending at the moment. However, irrespective of the team’s explanations, if the attachments are in violation of NASCAR’s rule book, HMS might incur heavy penalties. The list of penalties handed in the past includes a deduction of 100 points, 10 playoff points, or a four-race suspension for the crew chief.
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