Richard Childress and Clint Bowyer Lose NASCAR Penalty Appeal

Hank EptonCorrespondent ISeptember 29, 2010

DOVER, DE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Clint Bowyer, driver of the #33 BB&T Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2010 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The National Stock Car Racing Commission ruled Wednesday that NASCAR’s penalty against Richard Childress Racing’s No. 33 Chevrolet will stand, pending one last appeal to the chief appellate officer of the commission.

It took more than five hours for the Commission to announce its ruling.

Richard Childress Racing made their case using the testimony of Dr. Charles Manning of Accident Reconstruction Analysis in Raleigh, N.C. Manning said after the hearing that he felt confident that RCR had made their case.

Childress has one last avenue for appeal. John Middlebrook is a former GM executive and the chief appellate officer for the commission.

Wednesday's ruling marks the latest chapter in a saga that began 18 days ago during post-race inspection after the Air Guard 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

Following that race, RCR was reportedly informed that the No. 33 car driven by Clint Bowyer was dangerously close to tolerance measurements for the height of the rear quarterpanel and deck lid.

RCR was informed later that week that at the conclusion of Sylvania 300 at Loudon, N.H., the car would be taken to the NASCAR Research and Development Center in North Carolina.

Bowyer won the race and passed post-race inspection at the track, but the more intensive inspection during the week by NASCAR deemed that the car was illegal due to a deviation from the governing body’s tightly restrictive rules concerning the body profile of the COT.

Richard Childress contended that either contact with another car on the racetrack or post-race assistance from a wrecker to get the car to victory lane was the cause of the deviation in the height of the left quarterpanel.

NASCAR disagreed and levied a $150,000 fine to crew chief Shane Wilson, suspended both Wilson and car chief Chad Haney, and docked Bowyer 150 points in the Sprint Cup standings.

The points penalty was a devastating blow, reversing Bowyer’s run from a tie for last place among the chasers to second in the standings after the win.

He went from 35 points behind leader Denny Hamlin to 185 points back.  After last week’s 25th-place finish at Dover, Bowyer found himself 235 markers out of the lead.

On Wednesday, the team paid its six-figure fine as part of the penalty. Middlebrook will hear the final appeal on Tuesday.