Carl Long has said that he is disappointed with the ruling of a NASCAR appeals board that he says limited his recent twelve-week suspension to the Sprint Cup garage, but kept the $200,000 fine for an engine that was deemed too large during practice for the Sprint All-Star Race.
A NASCAR spokesman would not confirm the ruling of the National Stock Car Racing Commission, which heard the appeal Tuesday morning, but an official statement issued after the hearing clearly laid out the extent of Long's punishment and the driver, who works as a mechanic and spotter for Front Row Motorsports, said he was unsure if he would go through the final appeals process to National Stock Car Racing commissioner Charles Strang.
Long's engine blew during 15 May practice at Lowe's Motor Speedway and, since he changed engines, NASCAR officials took the original. After inspection, it was deemed that the unit was 0.17 cubic inches beyond the 358-cubic inch limit stipulated in the rules, and the part-time driver/owner was suspended for twelve weeks and docked 200 points, while crew chief Charles Swing was fined $200,000 - the largest fine in NASCAR history.
Long had bought the engine from a reputable engine builder and was told that the heat generated when the engine blew up possibly could have caused the change in the size
On weekends when he's not racing, the privateer is typically to be found in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide garages, working for Front Row. The next Sprint Cup race Long had planned to compete in was Bristol in August, but he will be under suspension.
“I work on a Sprint Cup team and my job is running back and forth,” he noted Tuesday, “They might be trying to give me a Band-Aid to help me, but it doesn't.... How do you go up and spot for your Nationwide car and then find somebody else to take over for you? It still knocks me out of a job.
“I still love the sport, I still love to race and love to be part of it, but it gave me a real, real sour taste in my mouth. I don't think it's fair at all.”
The NASCAR commission issued the following statement explaining its decisions regarding the case:
"On 2 June 2009, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the appeal of 3three penalties issued by NASCAR relative to the #146 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car following inspection of the car's engine on 16 May 2009 for an event at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
"The penalties concern Section 12-1 of the NASCAR Rule Book 'Actions detrimental to stock car racing', Section 12-4-I 'Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the Race Equipment used in the Event does not conform to NASCAR rules', and Section 20-5.4A 'Engine exceeded the maximum engine size of 358.00 cubic inch displacement'.
"The penalties assessed were: