NASCAR suspends three, fines three from Joe Gibbs Racing after seizing illegal front splitters

NASCAR has fined three Joe Gibbs Racing crew chiefs and suspended three JGR car chiefs for one race for nonconforming front splitters confiscated during prerace technical inspection Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.

JGR drivers Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Erik Jones were sent to the rear of the field for the start of the race Sunday, and NASCAR issued the additional penalties Tuesday.

It fined JGR crew chiefs Adam Stevens (Busch), Mike Wheeler (Hamlin) and Chris Gayle (Jones) $25,000 each and suspended the car chiefs (Jason Overstreet, Nate Bellows and Brandon Griffeth) for those drivers for the upcoming Cup race at Sonoma.

A JGR spokesman said the team will not appeal the penalty.

The penalties continue a NASCAR trend toward suspending car chiefs, who often play a more hands-on role with the car than the crew chief during a weekend. The car chief typically is in charge of setting up the car to the specifications decided by the crew chief and engineer.

The penalties were the same as those issued to the Richard Childress Racing team of Austin Dillon after Dillon's front splitter was confiscated prior to the race at Dover.

NASCAR has intensified inspection of the front splitters -- a key component in impacting downforce as well as how the air flows around the car -- in the last five weeks to make sure they are flat.