Joe Gibbs Racing personnel have been fined and placed on probation for fitting their Sprint Cup cars at Michigan with oil pans that had not been previously submitted for approval by NASCAR.
All three JGR Toyotas were found with the parts during inspection at Michigan last Friday and officials requested the team to replace them before they could run during practice. The team complied with NASCAR's request, but still faced penalties for fitting the parts without having an initial approval from NASCAR.
The confiscated oil pans were reportedly heavier than normal, but the NASCAR rulebook doesn't state a specific weight limit despite constraining its dimensions, material and construction. As a result, the three JGR crew chiefs, Mike Ford (No. 11 car of Denny Hamlin), Dave Rogers (No. 18 car of Kyle Busch) and Greg Zipadelli (No. 20 car of Joey Logano) have been fined $50,000 each and placed on NASCAR probation until the end of the year.
Also, all three car chiefs, Chris Gillin (No. 11 car), Wesley Sherrill (No. 18 car) and Jason Shapiro (No. 20 car) along with Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Jimmy Makar have been placed on the same NASCAR probation period.
"For us, the oil pan thing ultimately was our responsibility to get – when it says things approved by NASCAR, every piece has to be approved by NASCAR," said JD Gibbs at Michigan on Sunday following Denny Hamlin's victory.
"A lot of times we bring stuff to the track. They'll say, 'Hey, run it this week, don't bring it back, make these changes to it.' Our fault was thinking we would have that conversation. When we got (to the track), they didn't like it. I think they thought it was a different issue than it actually wound up being."
Between Joe Gibbs Racing penalties since May, team members have had to pay up to $200,000 in fines. Last week the team was issued a $25,000 penalty along with a six-point deduction after the car of Kyle Busch failed post-race inspection at Pocono. A few weeks before that, Busch was fined the same amount following a post-race pit road altercation with Richard Childress Racing's Kevin Harvick.
Kyle Busch, a two-time winner this season, currently ranks fourth in the Sprint Cup series standings while Hamlin's Michigan victory moved him up to ninth in the points.