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Bowyer loses appeal against penalty

30 September 2010

NASCAR have rejected an appeal by Richard Childress Racing against heavy penalties for technical infringements on Clint Bowyer's car that followed the Sylvania 300 at Loudon.

The #33 Chevrolet had been put through a detailed inspection after RCR was warned at the previous race that they were pushing the maximum tolerances to the absolute limit, and that they would face a more comprehensive check post-Loudon at NASCAR's Research and Development facility in Concord, North Carolina.

The inspection duly found that a section of bodywork was out of tolerance by sixty thousandths of an inch, less than 1/16 of an inch. As a result, Bowyer was penalised 150pts - effectively ending his Sprint Cup campaign for 2010, while crew chief Shane Wilson and car chief Chad Haney were handed a six race suspension and Wilson also fined $150,000.

"It doesn't make any sense at all that we would send a car to New Hampshire that wasn't within NASCAR's tolerances," the team said in a statement after the original penalty. At the appeal, RCR contended that the infringement had been the result of a recovery vehicle having to push Bowyer back to pit road after the car ran out of fuel on the cool-down lap. The team brought Dr. Charles Manning of Accident Reconstruction Analysis to the hearing to present the case.

"We ran into it, we pushed into it with a wrecker that was the same as Loudon," said Manning. "We measured it. [It] tells you clearly it wasn't out of specification before he burned out, ran out of gas and then got pushed." He added, "That's exactly what caused [the infringement]. We gave them scientific reports and we testify all the time and they paid no attention, which says something about what was going on in my opinion."

The appeals committee has not overturned a penalty in any of the seven appeals it has heard concerning national series teams this year.

"We have shown proof that the wrecker knocked the back of the car up," Richard Childress said, but NASCAR officials disagreed and said that they did not believe contact from the wrecker had anything to do with the car being out of compliance. "After so many hours of whatever you want to call this, the ruling stood," Childress said. "I gave them the check and an appeal notice to the commissioner. We're very disappointed."

Childress has made a formal request to appeal Wednesday's decision to NASCAR's new chief appellate officer John Middlebrook, the first time that a case has been taken to this level. Wilson and Haney will probably be allowed to continue in their roles at this weekend's race at Kansas Speedway pending a final ruling by Middlebrook, who will review transcripts of the appeal before receiving testimony. The hearings are expected to take place next week.


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