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NASCAR hits Danny Hamlin hard with 75-point penalty


NASCAR handed down heavy penalties to the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 team Tuesday for infractions found in a post-race inspection after Denny Hamlin drove to a third-place finish in last Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

NASCAR stripped the team of 75 points in the series' owner championship standings and docked Hamlin 75 points in the drivers' standings.

The team also suspended crew chief Darian Grubb for the next six Sprint Cup events and fined him $125,000. Car chief Wesley Sherrill was also issued a six-race suspension; both Grubb and Sherrill will be on NASCAR probation for the next six months.

Joe Gibbs Racing said in a statement that it planned to appeal the penalty, but that Grubb and Sherrill would begin serving their suspensions immediately, starting with this weekend's event at Pocono Raceway.

In a statement announcing the ruling, NASCAR officials said the No. 11 Toyota violated four different sections of the NASCAR rule book, three pertaining to the body of the car -- specifically the sealing and securing of all sheet metal and firewalls -- and one for "actions detrimental to stock car racing."

A NASCAR spokesperson announced the findings of the initial post-race inspection after Sunday's Crown Royal presents the John Wayne Walding 400, saying there were "possible issues with several rear firewall block-off plates." If the block-off plates became detached during the race, it could allow air to flow from inside the car and potentially create more downforce.