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NASCAR America: Analyzing penalty vs. Chase Elliott, team and planned appeal

Chase Elliott was slapped with a Level 1 penalty for a rear suspension issue, and the loss of 25 points plus other penalties could derail the rest of his season.

On Thursday’s NASCAR America, Nate Ryan, Dale Jarrett and Parker Kligerman gave their takes on Wednesday’s penalties assessed to Chase Elliott and his team.

One bit of good news: because Hendrick Motorsports has appealed the penalties, car chief Josh Kirk (who faces a two-race suspension), will be able to attend this weekend’s race in Fontana, California.

Also, crew chief Alan Gustafson will have his $50,000 fine held in abeyance pending the outcome of the appeal.

Elliott has lost 25 driver points (falls from 16th to 23rd in the Cup standings) and team owner Rick Hendrick lost 25 owner points, but those numbers could be reversed if the appeal reverses the penalties.

NASCAR Talk’s Nate Ryan compared Elliott’s penalty to the kind Joey Logano received after winning last year at Richmond, missing the playoffs as a result.

Elliott finished third last Sunday at Phoenix before being assessed with the Level 1 penalty for a rear suspension violation.

“The team is going to try and challenge (the penalty),” Ryan said. “There has not been a day and time scheduled for that appeal hearing yet. I presume it will probably happen next week.

“Hendrick Motorsports will go in front of the three-man panel and make its case with the possibility the penalty could be reduced or overturned, but that doesn’t happen often, only about a third of the time does that (appeals) panel reduce a penalty.”

Jarrett called the penalty “very unfortunate,” but added, “if there’s a good side of it from the team side, it happened early in the year and they can make up those 25 points, although you don’t want to put yourself at a deficit.”

Jarrett said his biggest takeaway from Wednesday’s penalty is that it came three days after the race, and about 2,000 miles away in Concord, North Carolina, rather than be found and assessed where the race occurred Sunday, in Avondale, Arizona.

“We have to some way, some time, find a way that we’re not taking these cars back and looking at every little detail and then levy penalties on Wednesday,” Jarrett said. “It’s not that it’s a little (violation), I understand there’s something there, but going to back to the R&D Center and levying these penalties on Wednesday, I don’t agree with.”

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