SONOMA, Calif. — On Saturday, NASCAR officials displayed the counterfeit part found on the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford that led to an L3-level penalty after the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Brad Moran, managing director of the NASCAR Cup Series, met with media members at Sonoma Raceway to show the air duct that was illegally counterfeited and installed on Chase Briscoe’s car. The part was found during teardown at the NASCAR Research and Development Center and led to a $250,000 fine and six-race suspension for crew chief Johnny Klausmeier, a 100-point owner and driver penalty and the deduction of 25 playoff points.
The duct sits at the bottom of the car under the engine panel to help move heat out of the engine compartment and is 3D-printed at the R&D Center and sold and installed for each team by Fibreworks Composites. Each piece is made to include particular markings that make it identifiable. As Moran displayed the part to media members, he explained the textures were “clearly” different.
The penalty is the latest example of officials ensuring a level playing field in the NASCAR Cup Series with the Next Gen vehicle, which relies on teams building cars with commonly sourced parts.
“We’ve got to change the culture in the Cup Series, and that’s what we intend on doing,” Moran said.
This is the second time this season NASCAR officials have shown an illegal part found on a Cup Series entrant, mirroring the transparency shown at Kansas Speedway where an illegally modified part from the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing team was displayed.
“Our message is we’re not going to back down,” Moran said Saturday. “It’s been a culture in this garage (to modify parts) for decades. And for us all to be strong and have the racing that we had last year to continue on, we just need to break that habit and start using the parts as they were designed for.”
The part found on Briscoe’s car was visibly errant before officials confirmed its lack of distinct markings and improper template fit, Moran said.
“There’s some defects that are built into it that are built into each one as it’s a 3D part,” he said. “So we know what they are and there’s certain little characteristics that are in it. But again, that was after we scanned it and everything. It was a visual that doesn’t look like this (real) part, and then the more we examined it, the more we realized it’s not a part they bought.”
In Klausmeier’s absence, Mike Bugarewicz has been the interim crew chief for Briscoe. Bugarewicz, now the performance director at SHR, served as a crew chief for the No. 14 Ford for four seasons with drivers Tony Stewart and Clint Bowyer before spending the 2020-21 seasons atop the No. 10 pit box with driver Aric Almirola. Bugarewicz has four career wins as a crew chief, collecting two with Bowyer and one each with Stewart and Almirola.