Larson continues Chevy’s dominance in NASCAR Cup Hendrick Motorsports Penalty Reduced
By Dave Hascall
RICHMOND, VA — Kyle Larson continued Chevrolet’s stronghold on the 2023 NASCAR Cup series by winning the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Speedway Sunday. This is Chevrolet’s fifth win in seven NASCAR Cup series points-paying races.
Hendrick Motorsports driver Larson held on after two late cautions to finish ahead of teammate Josh Berry. Berry, subbing for the injured Chase Elliot, posted his best Cup finish. This should increase Berry’s stock as he surely is poised to make a full-time effort at Cup in the future. Mayhem happened behind the pair as Toyota driver Christopher Bell got into fellow Hendrick ace William Byron. Byron, who’s won twice in Cup this year, spun into the wall and was credited with a 24th-place finish. Virginian Denny Hamlin got called for his second pit-road speeding penalty. He finished 20th. Behind Larson and Berry were Ross Chastain, Bell, Kevin Harvick, and Michael McDowell. Byron and Hamlin won the first two stages.
It was a great week for Hendrick Motorsports, even before a wheel was turned at Richmond. Hendrick had filed an appeal on an unapproved modification of a single vendor-supplied part (hood louvers). While the fines and Crew Chief suspensions were upheld, the points penalty was eliminated. NASCAR released a statement disagreeing with the reduction. The points penalty is a major deterrent in teams cheating and NASCAR is scratching their collective heads. Several pundits have noted, it was a cut-and-dry manipulation, why the softening of the penalty?
Josef Newgarden won the IndyCar race at Texas, with Michigan wunderkind Carson Hocevar taking his first NASCAR win, at Texas, while Chandler Smith won the Xfinity race at Richmond.