BOWYER HIT HARD BY PENALTY

Clint Bowyer’s gamble on fuel last weekend in New Hampshire may have paid off and put the Chase driver in Victory Lane on Sunday, but on Wednesday, NASCAR handed down a hefty penalty that sent Bowyer from second in the Chase standings all the way to 12th.

After taking the winning No. 33 Chevrolet was sent back to the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, N.C., officials determined the rear of the car – where the body lined up with the chassis – did not meet the specifications laid out in the NASCAR rule book (car body location specifications in reference to the certified chassis did not meet NASCAR-approved specifications).

As a result, Bowyer has been docked 150 points, team owner Richard Childress lost 150 owner points, crew chief Shane Wilson was hit with a $150,000 fine and suspended for six weeks, while car chief Chad Haney was also suspended for six weeks.

The penalty takes Bowyer from within 35 points of Chase leader Denny Hamlin to now 185 marks out of first and last of the 12 drivers battling for the title.

While surprising, this penalty does not come without warning.


Following final "regular season" race in Richmond, Bowyer and the No. 33 team were warned by NASCAR for being too close to their specifications in post-race inspection at the R&D Center. NASCAR was in constant communication with the team throughout the week about the issue and told RCR the No. 33 would be taken back to the R&D Center again following the race last weekend in Loudon, but obviously NASCAR did not like what they found.

While NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton claimed the issues in Richmond and New Hampshire were not the same, they were in the same area of the car and the infraction found this week was outside of the gray area provided in the rule book.

Following a teleconference in which Pemberton and Sprint Cup Series director John Darby danced around the specifics of what they found wrong with the car, team owner Richard Childress issued his own statement regarding NASCAR’s decision, saying the team would appeal the penalty.

The statement read as follows:

"First of all, I’d like to apologize to our sponsors, our fans and everyone at RCR for the situation that has resulted from this ruling. RCR has a long-standing reputation of integrity on and off the race track. We pride ourselves on working within the rules established by the sanctioning body.
 
"NASCAR informed us after the Richmond race that we were very close to their maximum tolerances. They also told us they were going to take our New Hampshire car to the NASCAR Technical Center after that race. It doesn’t make any sense at all that we would send a car to New Hampshire that wasn’t within NASCAR’s tolerances. I am confident we fixed the area of concern and the New Hampshire car left the race shop well within the tolerances required by NASCAR.
 
"We feel certain that the cause of the car being out of tolerance by sixty thousandths of an inch, less than 1/16 of an inch, happened as a result of the wrecker hitting the rear bumper when it pushed the car into winner’s circle. The rear bumper was also hit on the cool down lap by other drivers congratulating Clint on his victory. That’s the only logical way that the left-rear of the car was found to be high at the tech center. We will appeal NASCAR’s ruling and take it all the way to the NASCAR commissioner for a final ruling, if need be."

NASCAR made it clear it did not find any issue with RCR’s other two cars, those of Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton – who currently sit second and ninth respectively in the Chase. As to Childress’ claim the issue in question resulted in contact from the tow truck or other competitors, NASCAR also denied that to be the case.

“We looked at a lot of different things, and we feel like we have a lot of documentation from cars for the last four years or so, and we understand that we have had cars with some severe body damage and cars without, and we don’t feel that the incidental contact from a push from a wrecker helped push this car out of tolerance at all,” said Pemberton.

Childress plans to appeal this ruling, which will allow crew chief Shane Wilson and car chief Chad Haney will be allowed at the track this weekend in Dover. The points penalty, however, will remain in place.

This story is not over by any means. NASCAR warned the Childress organization they were playing with fire after inspecting their Richmond car and has hit them hard following an impressive showing in the opening race of the Chase. The team has contended they will fight NASCAR on this issue, utilizing every option available to them in the appeals process, but do not expect NASCAR to bend on this issue.

UPDATE: The Rowdy guys talk about the Bowyer penalty.


Rowdy.com Big 3: Bowyer Gets Banged – Watch more Funny Videos

Related links:
Bowyer Saves Gas, Earns Chase Win
Hamlin Solidifies Points Lead With Victory
Is A Teammate An Advantage In The Chase?
Stewart Smokes ‘Em On Final Restart
A Favorite Heading Into The Chase?
Chase Clinch Scenarios – Atlanta
Racing For The Love Of The Sport
Busch Quiets Critics With Historic Win
Vickers To Return In 2011
Busch-Johnson Rivalry Could Reignite
Do Bonus Points Matter In The Chase?
Harvick Wins, Locks Chase Berth
Montoya Finally Gets The Win
Allmendinger Signs Multiyear Deal With RPM
Atlanta Loses Cup Date For 2011
Hard Hit Overshadows Race
Gibbs Offers His Thoughts On Fine

Newman Admits To Being Fined
Roush Hospitalized After Plane Crash
McMurray Makes History for Chip Ganassi
Newman’s Thoughts On Brad & Carl
Martin Insists He Will Drive No. 5 In 2011
Edwards and Keselowski Heat Up The Off Weekend
Victory Lane Rain Tastes Much Better
Harvick Wins Wild Coke Zero 400
The View From Kevin Harvick’s Pit Box at Pocono, Where DeLana Wore Her Firesuit
Ambrose’s Mistake Gives Johnson The Win
Hamlin Wins Wild Race at Pocono, Harvick and Logano Feud
Burton and Busch Ready To Move On
Penske, Ganassi Battle From Indy To Charlotte
Brian France Forging His Own Legacy, Often Away From The Track

Busch-Hamlin Feud Ends – For Now
Emotions Rule The Day At Hall of Fame
One Busch Wins, The Other Whines
Vickers Out For Season, Drivers Weigh In
Busch, Gibbs Win The Weekend
NASCAR Hall of Fame Open For Business
Artifact Stolen From NASCAR Hall of Fame
Gordon Still The Guy To Beat
A Sneak Peek at the NASCAR Hall of Fame
New Kyle Shines In Victory Lane In Richmond
Old School Meets New School
Johnson-Gordon Rift Shows Larger Trend
Another Wild Weekend In Talladega
Hornish ‘Fairly Confident’ He’ll Be With Penske Next Year
Hamlin Fights Pain, Beats Competiton
Kahne Goes From the King To The Emperor
Newman Needed Four Laps For Phoenix Win
Hamlin Enjoys Some Goody’s Pain Relief
Mears Tapped As Stand-In For Hamlin
Drivers Adjusting To Spoiler
Johnson and Busch: A Rivalry In The Making
Bristol Legends Crash
Rogers Admits Frustration, Refuses To Be Rattled
Edwards and Keselowski Meet With NASCAR
Harvick, Edwards Feuding
Get Ready For More Action
‘Have At It, Boys’ Put To The Test
Time For NASCAR To Get It Together
Luck Wins Races, Not Championships
An Inspiring Moment With Our Veterans
Hole-y Moley!
New Rules Force Teams To Adjust
Danica Finally Races
Biggest Dangers Are Off The Track
Superspeedway Concerns Nothing New
Racing expos connect fans with NASCAR
The next decade of NASCAR
D.J. Richardson’s legacy: Do more for NASCAR’s ‘weekend warriors’
Danica Patrick is all hype
Sprint Cup predictions revisited
Four-timers’ club: Johnson vs. Gordon
Three DNFs doomed Hamlin’s Chase
He came, he drove, he almost won
For sale: One ruined career
Family of girl injured at Talladega will be at race