Both Of Hamlin’s Win at Darlington Encumbered, Dale Earnhardt Jr. To Lose Crew Chief For Richmond

Huge NASCAR news came out of Charlotte on Wednesday as both of Denny Hamlin’s victories last weekend at the Darlington Raceway are now deemed “encumbered.” That’s the second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race to have an encumbered race winner (Joey Logano at Richmond in April) and the second NASCAR XFINITY Series encumbered race winner too. Unfortunately, Hamlin was on the wrong end of both XFINITY Series encumbered race winners.

His photo finish at Michigan was deemed encumbered for him failing post race inspection. It was a huge slap in the face to William Byron who nearly won his first career XFINITY Series race that day. Luckily, he would find success very quickly after. 

But, this is huge in the event that both races at Darlington had an encumbered winner and both for the same reason.

Denny Hamlin at Darlington

Hamlin’s No. 18 Toyota in the XFINITY Series failed because of the rear suspension. He broke rule “Sections 20.14.2 Rear Suspension I-4 Truck
Trailing Arm Spacers/Pinion Angle Shims; h.Spacers/pinion angle shims must have single planar mating surfaces. Notes: All mating surfaces between the truck; trailing arm and the U-bolt saddle must be in complete contact with each other. Racefinish is encumbered per Section 12.10 Encumbered Race Finishes.”

His No. 11 Toyota in the Cup Series failed for the exact same reason. The rule is virtually identical.

“Section 20.14.2 Rear Suspension I-4 f Truck Trailing Arm Spacers/Pinion Angle Shims. Spacers/pinion angle shims must conform to the following drawing: A-008-01016d-16 REV. A. Notes: 6 The Truck trailing arm spacer / pinion angle shimmating surfaces must be planar and must be in complete contact with corresponding mating surfaces at all points and at all times. Race finish is encumbered per Section 12.10 Encumbered Race Finishes.”

But, the second place car in the XFINITY Series race, the one that Hamlin made a thrilling last lap, last corner pass to win was found illegal too and Joey Logano’s finish was encumbered as well.

Logano’s No. 22 Ford failed for the exact same reason.

“Section 20.14.2 Rear Suspension I-4 f Truck Trailing Arm Spacers/Pinion Angle Shims. Spacers/pinion angle shims must conform to the following drawing: A-008-01016d-16 REV. A. Notes: 6 The Truck trailing arm spacer / pinion angle shimmating surfaces must be planar and must be in complete contact with corresponding mating surfaces at all points and at all times. Race finish is encumbered per Section 12.10 Encumbered Race Finishes.”

On the XFINITY Series side, Crew chief Eric Phillips (No. 18 Toyota JGR) and Greg Erwin (No. 22 Ford Penske) has been fined $25,000 and suspended from two NASCAR XFINITY Series Championship Points Events. The teams have been assessed with the loss of 25 owner points.

On the Cup side, Crew chief Mike Wheeler (No. 11 Toyota JGR) has been fined $50,000 and suspended from two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Championship Points Events. Team has also been assessed with the loss of 25 owner points and 25 driver points. That means Hamlin will be without his crew chief for the first playoff race at Chicagoland.

Those weren’t the only infractions too. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was found to have two loose lugnuts and his crew chief Greg Ives has been fined $20,000 and suspended from the next Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship points event

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