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Harsh penalties imposed on Menard's RCR team

NASCAR has handed down heavy penalties on the #27 team fronted by driver Paul Menard, after discovering rules infractions deemed to be trying to deceive official inspections.
NASCAR has handed down heavy points penalties, fines, suspensions and probations to the #27 Sprint Cup team operated by Richard Childress Racing, after finding alterations to the basic Car of Tomorrow body framework.

The modifications were discovered this week during post-race inspection at the NASCAR Research and Development Center, following last Sunday's race at Michigan International Speedway.

Alterations to the basic CoT bodywork are strictly against NASCAR's rules, and the sanctioning body has taken a very harsh view of what they found in their examination of the #27 car driven by Paul Menard.

Crew chief Slugger Labbe has been handed a $100,000 fine and suspended from NASCAR competition until October 3 and on probation after that through to the end of the year. The car chief Craig Smokstad and crew member Grant Hutchens also receive the same suspension and probation penalties, but escape financial sanction.

Paul Menard will lose a hefty 25pts from his Sprint Cup championship standings, making it all but impossible for him to pull off a late entry into the Chase in the three races remaining before the cut-off.

"These penalties are awfully stiff, twenty-five points in today's points system is a lot," said SPEED TV analyst Larry McReynolds, a former NASCAR crew chief. "We're in the sixth year of NASCAR certifying these chassis and I don't think this ever has happened before because everyone knows how sacred this ground truly is."

The #27 also loses 25pts in the car owner standings for Richard Childress. In the old points system, that would have been the equivalent of nearer a 100pt deduction for both driver and car owner.

It's not entirely clear whether the team will exercise its right of appeal over the penalties and their severity. Initial reports indicated that Childress was planning to lodge an appeal, but subsequent reports said that the team was still weighing up their options before deciding.

The official announcement from NASCAR stated that the #27 team was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4K (race equipment that has been previously certified or previously approved by NASCAR for use in an event, pursuant to sub-section 8-12, has been altered, modified, repaired or changed in any manner. Intentionally modifying frame rails for the purpose of deceiving NASCAR's inspection gauges) of the 2012 NASCAR Rule Book.

On Tuesday, it was also announced that Dave Rogers, crew chief of the #18 Sprint Cup team, had been fined $25,000 and put on NASCAR probation through to October 3 after an improperly attached weight was found on Kyle Busch's car at Michigan. Car chief Wesley Sherrill was also handed a probation for the same period. There were no points deductions from either the driver or car owner, however.

In that instance, NASCAR's official announcement stated that the #18 car was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-2.3A (improperly attached weight) of the 2012 NASCAR rule book. The infraction occurred during practice on August 18.



Related Pictures

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Paul Menard in the garage. [Photo credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR ]
The #27 Menard`s Chevrolet driven by Paul Menard [Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR]
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, leads a pack of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on August 30, 2015 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #33 Richmond/Menards Chevrolet, celebrates after taking first in the Xfinity Series Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville on at Road America on August 29, 2015 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Moore/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #33 Richmond/Menards Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville at Road America on August 29, 2015 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #33 Richmond/Menards Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after taking first in the Xfinity Series Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville on at Road America on August 29, 2015 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Moore/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #33 Richmond/Menards Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag at the end of the Xfinity Series Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville on at Road America on August 29, 2015 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Moore/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, lead the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Curry/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR XFINITY Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #20 Hisense Toyota, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, lead the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR XFINITY Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, qualifies for twelfth position Friday, August 21, 2015 for Saturday night`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Larson is 19th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualifies for eleventh position Friday, August 21, 2015 for Saturday night`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Busch is eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, leads Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Great Lakes Flooring/Menards Toyota, during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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