Chase Elliott and the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team learned the hard way that cameras — and fans — are always watching. After finishing runner-up in Sunday’s Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, Elliott did a post-race interview, during which some very observant NASCAR fans saw a crew member apparently removing tape from the No. 24’s spoiler.
Well, they clearly were on to something, as Elliott’s team was hit with an L1 penalty for “modification of components to affect the aerodynamic properties of the vehicle,” NASCAR announced Tuesday. Here’s video of team’s shady behavior after the race:
The craziest part about all of this is the potentially large role the internet played in busting Elliott’s crew. On Monday, Reddit user ClarksonianPause started a thread on /r/NASCAR that included videos of the incident. Furthermore, the Redditor claimed they spoke to someone inside the garage who witnessed a crew member applying the tape, which they said added an extra 30 – 50 pounds of downforce. A slew of fans commented on the thread, which some in the sport believe caught NASCAR’s attention.
Now, while the Reddit post might’ve helped NASCAR bust Elliott’s crew for one infraction, multiple aerodynamic manipulations actually were found in the No. 24, Motorsport.com reported Tuesday. In any event, the penalty definitely hurts the team’s hopes of winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship. In addition to
Elliott’s second-place finish being encumbered, crew chief Alan Gustafson was fined $25,000 and was suspended for Sunday’s ISM Connect 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Car chief Joshua Kirk also was suspended for the playoff race, and the No. 24 team was docked 15 driver points and 15 owner points. Elliott dropped form sixth to eighth in the playoff standings