A week after Hendrick Motorsports had its L2 penalty amended by the National Motorsports Appeals Panel, two more appeals will be heard this week.
Wednesday, Kaulig Racing appeals its L2 penalty for a modified hood louver. After qualifying at Phoenix Raceway, NASCAR officials confiscated the hood louvers off the No. 31 Chevrolet. Both Hendrick Motorsports and Kaulig Racing were given the same penalty.
Denny Hamlin has his appeal heard Thursday. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver was issued a behavioral penalty after he admitted on his “Actions Detrimental” podcast that he intentionally fenced Ross Chastain on the last lap at Phoenix Raceway.
Hamlin was fined $50,000 and docked 25 points. In its penalty report, NASCAR cited “attempting to manipulate the outcome of a race,” as well as “actions by a NASCAR member that NASCAR finds to be detrimental to stock car racing or NASCAR.”
Given the recent high-profile appeals and Hendrick Motorsports getting its points back, RACER thought it appropriate to break down some basic questions posed but fans surrounding the National Motorsports Appeals Panel.
What is the National Motorsports Appeals Panel?
The NASCAR Rule Book defines the National Motorsports Appeals Panel as the first level of appeal available to Members. The National Motorsports Appeals Panel provides Members with an impartial and meaningful opportunity to appeal a NASCAR Penalty Notice.
Is the National Motorsports Appeals Panel made up of NASCAR executives?
No. See the next question for more.
Who serves on the National Motorsports Appeals Panel?
The appeals panel comprises former drivers, car owners, track operators and administrators. There are also individuals whose backgrounds do not involve racing.
How is the three-person panel chosen for an appeal?
The Appeal Administrator chooses the panel based on schedule availability, subject matter, and lack of any conflicts of interest.
Do the same three individuals hear every appeal?
No. It is a different panel for each appeal based on rotation and scheduling.
How does someone get chosen for the National Motorsports Appeals Panel?
Nominations for individuals to serve as appeals panelists are provided to NASCAR each year, and a thorough vetting process takes place before they are added to the pool.
Does NASCAR pay the National Motorsports Appeal Panel?
No, panelists are volunteers.
Who is in the room for the appeal?
Representatives from the team under penalty and NASCAR. No lawyers. Both sides present their case, any evidence (charts, videos, statements, diagrams, etc.), and witnesses. The appeals panel can ask questions. The burden is on NASCAR to show there was a violation of the rules.
What power does the National Motorsports Appeals Panel have?
Once an appeal is heard, the appeals panel can uphold the penalty, amend the penalty or increase the penalty. Afterward, the team has the chance to make a final appeal. However, NASCAR does not have the same option.