NASCAR weekend schedule for Atlanta Motor Speedway Hendrick Motorsports to appeal NASCAR penalties Justin Haley, Aric Almirola teams penalized for Phoenix infractions Denny Hamlin fined $50,000 and loses 25 driver points NASCAR issues severe penalties to Hendrick Motorsports

With the Daytona 500 and the West Coast race completed, Chevrolet leads the NASCAR Cup Series as the tour stops at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend.

Chevy teams have won all four races this season with driver Hendrick Motorsports. William Byron claiming the last two (Las Vegas and Phoenix).

MORE: NASCAR Issues Harsh Punishments Hendrick Motorsports

Chevrolet drivers completed 705 laps this year. Ford led the 221 and Toyota the 74.

Chevrolet has won six times at Atlanta and Ford has five wins at the track since Toyota last scored there in September 2013.

Check out the schedule for the weekend:

Atlanta Motor Speedway (Cup, Xfinity and Truck)

Weekend weather

Friday: Rain, potentially heavy. Maximum 68. Wind 10-15 m/s. 90% chance of rain.

Saturday: Partly cloudy. Maximum 55. Wind 10-15 m/s. Chance of rain is 7%.

Sunday: Partly cloudy. Maximum 50.

Friday, March 17

(All time Eastern)

Garage open

  • 10:00 – 17:00 – Truck Series
  • 11:30 – 18:30 – Xfinity Series
  • 15:30 – 20:30 – Cup Series

Activity Tracking

  • 15:05 – 16:30 – truck qualification (FS1)
  • 16:35 – 18:00 – Xfinity qualifier (FS1)

Saturday, March 18

Garage open

  • 9:00 – 13:30 – Cup Series
  • 11:00 – 19:00 – Truck Series
  • 14:00 – 22:30 – Xfinity Series

Activity Tracking

  • 11:35 – 13:00 – Cup qualification (FS1)
  • 14:00 – Truck Race (135 laps, 207 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 5:00 pm Xfinity Race (163 laps, 251 miles; FS1, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, March 19

Garage open

  • Noon – 21:30 – Cup Series

Activity Tracking

  • 3:00 pm – Cup (260 laps, 400 miles; Fox, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Hendrick Motorsports announced it is appealing fines issued by NASCAR Tuesday for hood louvre modifications found on all four Hendrick vehicles last weekend at Phoenix Raceway.

NASCAR imposed the following penalties:

  • Docked Alex Bowman, Kyle Larson And William Byron 100 points and also penalized them 10 playoff points each.
  • Crew chiefs Cliff Daniels, Alan Gustafson, Rudy Fugl and Blake Harris are each suspended from four races. NASCAR also fined each $100,000.
  • Each of Hendrik’s four teams are penalized 100 owner points and 10 playoff points.

Hendrick Motorsports stated, “We are disappointed with NASCAR’s decision to impose penalties today and have decided to appeal based on a variety of facts, including:

  • Blinds provided to teams through a NASCAR authorized single supplier do not conform to the design provided by the manufacturer and approved by NASCAR.
  • A documented inconsistent and vague message from a sanctioning authority specifically relating to blinds.
  • Recent comparable fines issued by NASCAR were related to problems found during the post-race inspection.”

Hendrick Motorsports said NASCAR discovered blinds on four of the team’s cars during a voluntary inspection 35 minutes after the garage opened Friday in Phoenix. Hendrick Motorsports stated that “NASCAR took the parts about four hours later with no prior notice. The situation had nothing to do with qualifying on Saturday or Sunday’s race.”

Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competitions, asked Tuesday if officials were asked to inspect the blinds or if it was a random inspection, said: “If you like, it’s a random inspection. … These are not uncharted waters for NASCAR. This has been done for years.

“We will continue to do so. While we’re working on this car, we want to make sure it’s in the box it’s supposed to be in, and we’re judging and checking to the level we want.”

Hendrick Motorsports stated that “the organization has made a strategic decision not to request a staff suspension deferment.” Interim crew chiefs for each of the four Cup teams will be announced at a later date.

Driver teams Justin Hailey And Aric Almirola were fined by NASCAR for infractions during last weekend’s events at Phoenix Raceway.

Trent Owens, Team Principal, Haley’s Kauling Racing No. 31, was fined $100,000 and suspended from the next four Cup Series races for modifying the car’s radiator air duct. The team and Hailey were also ranked with a 100 point loss and 10 playoff points. The violation was discovered during the pre-qualification check.

NASCAR suspended two Almirola Stewart Haas Racing team members Ryan Mulder and Sean Cotten after Almirola’s car lost a wheel during a race in Phoenix.

MORE: NASCAR Issues Harsh Punishments Hendrick Motorsports

The right front wheel came off Almirola’s Ford about halfway through the race. He hit the front of the outer wall and limped into the pits.

“I never felt like the wheel was loose or anything like that,” Almirola said after the race. “It just took off at me and sent me into the wall.”

Almirola returned to the race but finished 33rd, four laps behind the leaders.

Almirola’s team became the second this year to receive a wandering wheel fine. Two members of Martin Truex Jr.’s pit crew were suspended after his car lost a wheel at Auto Club Speedway in the second race of the season.

Denny Hamlin was fined $50,000 and fined 25 driver points after admitting he intentionally crashed the car. Ross Chastain during a NASCAR Cup Series race last Sunday at Phoenix Raceway.

NASCAR penalized Hamlin for “conduct”, which includes attempting to manipulate the outcome of a race, breaking another car, and acting “detrimental to stock car racing or NASCAR”.

The penalties were announced as part of a larger group of penalties disclosed by NASCAR on Wednesday.

MORE: NASCAR Issues Harsh Punishments Hendrick Motorsports

Hamlin and Chastain crashed on the last lap of Sunday’s race and Hamlin spoke about the incident on Monday night. in his podcast “Acts to Harm”. He said he deliberately pinned Chastain against the wall as they raced for a position behind the lead group.

Elton Sawyer, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition, said Hamlin’s comments on the podcast resulted in a fine.

“When you look at (the incident between Hamlin and Chastain) last weekend, we would consider it a racing incident, but then, 24 hours later, the contestant who was on the podcast… (and) you begin to admit that you intentionally did something— something that could jeopardize the results of the end of the race, then it rises to the level where we are going to intervene.

“There is no other way to look at it…


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