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Appeals officer restores points to Kaulig Racing

Kim Coon, Parker Kligerman, and Dale Jarrett discuss what happened to Stewart-Haas, where all cars qualified in the top seven with Ryan Preece on pole, but mistakes resulted in only one car finishing in the top five.

Final Appeal Officer Bill Mullis has restored 100 driver points and 10 playoff points to Kauling Racing and driver Justin Haley after a request from NASCAR.

During a Tuesday appeal, NASCAR asked that the Kaulig penalty follow in line with the one charged to Hendrick Motorsports for similar violations. Mullis agreed.

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Mullis upheld the fine of $100,000 and a four-race suspension for crew chief Trent Owens but eliminated the points penalties, the most severe of the group.

“In the interest of fairness, NASCAR has requested that I remove the driver/owner race and playoff points fro the penalty to Kaulig Racing,” Mullis said in a statement released Tuesday. “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.”

After the Mullis ruling, NASCAR released a 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.”

Kaulig Racing stated: Kaulig Racing is pleased with the ruling of the Final Appeals Officer to amend the original L2 penalty issued by NASCAR following the confiscation of a louver at Phoenix Raceway. Regarding these unique circumstances, it means the world to us as an organization that the sanctioning body is working hard to ensure fairness and consistency across the board within our sport. We are focused ahead on Talladega and look forward to getting our season back on track with Justin Haley.”

The issues with the hood louvers were discovered on the Hendrick team’s four cars prior to practice March 10 at Phoenix Raceway. In pre-qualifying inspection, the same issues were found on the Kaulig car. The parts were confiscated from all five cars.