Joe Gibbs Racing to Not Appeal No. 11 Team’s Penalty

by August 8, 2014

Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Joe Gibbs Racing has elected to not file an appeal with NASCAR regarding penalties issued against the No. 11 team after the conclusion of the Crown Royal Presents the John Walding 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The No. 11 team was penalized following a third-place performance at Indianapolis when NASCAR analyzed several parts of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota’s chassis and concluded that the team ran with an improperly sealed cockpit. Subsequently, the sanctioning body ruled the infraction as a P5 infraction; as a result, driver Denny Hamlin would be docked 75 driver points while crew chief Darian Grubb and car chief Wesley Sherrill were both suspended by NASCAR for six weeks from working at any race sanctioned by NASCAR and were both placed on probation until December 31st. The team itself would be docked 75 owner points.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Vice President of Communications, Chris Helein, released a statement mid-Thursday that after some inner-team deliberation, JGR has decided to not pursue an appeal against NASCAR’s penalty and would accept the punishments given. JGR’s Senior Vice President of Racing Operations, Jimmy Makar, offered more on the decision to not appeal and expressed his confidence in Grubb and Sherrill’s substitutes to continue the roll that the No. 11 FedEx team have been on as of late.

“It wasn’t [intentional], obviously, but there was no reason to [appeal],” Makar said on SiriusXM’s NASCAR Radio. “We are going to try and make the very best of the situation. We’ve got some real capable competent people to step up and take care of things at the race track for them while they’re serving the penalties. Maybe, just maybe, we can turn this into a positive.”

Taking Grubb and Sherrill’s places as crew chief and car chief until their suspensions expire prior to the first race of the Chase at the Chicagoland Speedway in September will be Michael Wheeler and Chris Gillin. Sunday’s race at Pocono was Wheeler’s first-ever experience as a crew chief in any of NASCAR’s national series; Wheeler had served as a team engineer prior to getting the call-up prior to Sunday. Wheeler’s debut as crew chief for the No. 11 team led Hamlin to a ninth-place finish.