Chase Elliott penalized after Chicagoland violation, crew chief suspended

Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano react to Chase Elliott's Chicagoland penalty and debate how they think it will change the team through the rest of the playoffs.

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- So the second place finishing car of Chase Elliott, his 24 car, was found to have modifications to components to affect the aerodynamics. So NASCAR penalizing that team today. They are suspending car chief Joshua Kirk one race, crew chief Alan Gustafson one race. 15 points will be taken from that team and their second place finish will be encumbered.

Hendrick Motorsports has come out and said that they will not appeal this. So Kenny Francis is going to be on that pit box for the next race. But the biggest hit, Adam, to the points because that encumbered finish [INAUDIBLE] 15 spots.

- OK, a couple of things that we need to make everyone aware of here. One, the 15 points, right? And here they are, plus 33. This is how they sit after Chicago prior to the penalty. So you take away those 15 points, they go from sixth to eighth dropping down here behind teammate Jimmy Johnson. So this is a huge thing for them when you talk about the points. The other thing is, because it is encumbered. That stage win that they got, that playoff point, that's taken away as well.

So if driver 24, Chase Elliott, is able to move on to the second round of the playoffs, he would not have that playoff point. And the other thing you have to think about is the tiebreaker situation. Now all of the sudden, their margin for error is lessened because of the loss of 15 points. What's the tiebreaker of moving from one round to the next? Best finish in the round. That second place finish is now gone. A lot of weight has gone on the shoulders of this 24 team, guys.

- It sure has. And it puts them in the position that they can't have a bad race now. They were in a pretty comfortable position that they can afford to maybe have a bad race in New Hampshire or Dover. But now they've got to be pretty good through these next couple of races to be able to get through. That on top of not having your crew chief, the team's going to be a little bit different.

- And whatever modifications they were making for the aerodynamics, that's going to be taken away as well, right?

- You would assume. So you don't know what's going to happen here in the next few races for them, how they're going to perform on top of already having the points taken away. That pressure is added immediately as soon as the playoffs started for him.

- Not a fun situation to be in. Hey look, we've all been there as competitors. And when you look at a situation like this for Chase Elliott, and really any team, it just knocks you out of your rhythm. He had one of the best runs he's had, I think all season long at Chicagoland Speedway. And to kind of get that taken away and then have to deal with this rhetoric, not just losing the points.

Then of course there's the distraction of losing your crew chief, losing your car chief too, that's a big part. People don't realize the car chief, he's the guy that actually does most of the work on the car. The crew chief tells him what to do, but the car chief's the guy who does most the work on the car. So losing both of those two, the points, the momentum off of one of your best races of the year, that's really tough to handle this point in the season.

- When you show up after your win is encumbered, what's the vibe inside that hall? Do you guys have to basically reset and reschedule what your plan is?

- Well, it depends on how you handle it. You can take that and say, man, we're going to prove them wrong. We're going to prove that this wasn't an advantage on our car, we can win with or without it. That could be one approach. Now the opposite end of that is it can take all of the wind out of your sails. It can totally destroy a team and you can implode from inside pretty quickly. So anything can happen for that team depending on how they handle the situation mentally. Just like this whole playoffs game is, it's all about what's going on in your head and their confidence level. This is a little bit of a kick in the confidence. But they can maybe redeem themselves and make it even a good thing for them.

- It's good to happen now, right? Because you have time to recover.

- Well no, not really. If you're a team, you're in the playoffs.

- But you get two races in the opening round.

- But Adam, without the appeal, they've lost all the people right away. And this is a people sport, this is a team sport. You've got to have the best people in the playoffs on the field. And when you're crew chief, your car chief aren't going to be there for a big race in the playoffs. It's going to sting. Most the time when you see penalties like this, teams appeal it, not only because they feel like they might get it reduced for penalties, but just so they can get people ready to replace those people they just lost. They're not even going to have that opportunity without the appeal. So this is a big, big deal.

- Keeping in mind, Keith Rodden yesterday announced he's not going to be a part of the five. And they bring in Darien Grubb, now you go even deeper into the lineup with Kenny Francis.

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