The Final Appeals Officer today heard and considered an appeal of an L2 penalty issued on March 15, 2023 to team owner Matt Kaulig, driver Justin Haley and crew chief Trent Owens in the NASCAR Cup Series.

The penalty concerns the following sections of the 2023 NASCAR Rule Book: Section 10.5.1.A Guiding Principles Relative to Penalites; 14.1.C,D&Q Overall Assembled Vehicle Rules; Radiator Duct. The original penalties issued were the loss of 100 championship owner points and 10 Playoff points to the No. 31; the loss of 100 championship driver points and 10 Playoff points to Haley; and a $100,000 fine and four-race suspension to Owens.

Statement from Final Appeals Officer Bill Mullis: “In the interest of fairness, NASCAR has requested that I remove the driver/owner race and playoff points from the penalty to Kaulig Racing. I have agreed to this request, per the Rule Book. During its opening remarks, NASCAR stated it believes that the violations did occur, the penalties were appropriate and the three-person appeals panel ruled correctly. But, because the Kaulig infraction closely mirrored that of Hendrick Motorsports (modified louver at Phoenix Raceway), NASCAR requested I rule in the same manner as the three-person appeals panel following the Hendrick Motorsports appeal on March 29. The information I heard in the room this morning created an overwhelming and unique circumstance. In fairness to the team and sanctioning body, as NASCAR documented in its remarks, this request is fully in the interest of fairness and consistency, and I agree.”

Upon hearing the testimony, the decisions of the Final Appeals Officer are:

  1. That the Appellant violated the Rule(s) set forth in the Penalty Notice.
  2. That the FAO amends the original Penalty assessed by NASCAR to read:
    1. $100,000 fine and 4 race suspension for Trent Owens
    2. No loss of NASCAR Cup Series Championship Team Owner and Driver points or Playoff points

The decision of the Final Appeals Officer is final and binding on all parties.

— National Motorsports Appeals Panel —

NASCAR’s statement: “NASCAR believes that Kaulig Racing committed the violations documented in the penalty notice, that the penalties were appropriate and that the three-person appeals panel ruled correctly when hearing the Kaulig appeal on April 5. However, in the interest of treating all competitors fairly, NASCAR today requested that the Final Appeals Officer remove the race and playoff points from the penalty. The Kaulig and Hendrick Motorsports violations involved the same modified part found during the same race weekend (modified louver at Phoenix Raceway), and with fairness and consistency top of mind, NASCAR requested that the FAO match the final Hendrick Motorsports penalty.  NASCAR believes that the updates made to the Rule Book will address similar issues in the future and keep its promise to the owners for strict penalties when single-source parts are modified.  We are pleased with the swift resolution to today’s appeal, appreciate Bill Mullis’ ruling and now look forward to this weekend’s events at Talladega Superspeedway.”


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