(photo courtesy Greg Ellman-Pool/Getty Images)
NASCAR has lowered to boom on Clint Bowyer and his Richard Childress Racing #33 Cheerios Chevy race team after a thorough post race inspection at NASCAR’s R&D center in Charlotte Wednesday.
While scoring his first win of the 2010 race season in Louden on Sunday, that victory pulled Bowyer to within 35 points of Chase leader Denny Hamlin. Although NASCAR has never stripped a race winner of his victory, the 150 point penalty has, in effect, done just that! On Sunday the Clint Bowyer victory elevated him from 12th place in the standings, to 2nd place. However, the 150 point penalty that was assessed on Wednesday has plummeted him right back to his original starting point, 12th place!
As is usual for NASCAR after the race, they take the winner’s car and a couple of randomly picked cars to the R&D center in Charlotte for a more detailed inspection. It was the detailed inspection that caught the eye of the NASCAR’s inspectors. However, NASCAR has not revealed the nature of the infraction that led to the untimely penalty for the RCR #33 Cheerios Chevy race team.
In a statement issued early Wednesday evening, team-owner Richard Childress team said he would appeal the penalties. In doing so, he gave a bit of an explanation of the source of the problem.
“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 statement said. “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.”
During a teleconference Wednesday afternoon, NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said that the Childress team had been warned after the race at Richmond International Raceway two weeks ago that its cars had been coming up very close to tolerances.
The team was warned again, he said, after the race in New Hampshire. The inspection at the R&D Center found the car to have exceeded the allowed tolerances.
“No,” Pemberton said, “the cars (at Richmond and New Hampshire) weren’t the same, but it was in the same area of the car in the body measurements that we talked to the 33 about or RCR about. It was in the same area.”
In his statement, Childress insisted the car was legal when it left the shop for New Hampshire.
“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,” Childress said.
The NASCAR officials said that the size of the penalty was based upon what Red Bull Racing was docked a couple years ago for a similar offense. They warned teams that in the future, even larger penalties could be imposed under similar circumstances.
Pemberton was asked if he thought the problem gave the car a competitive advantage.
“I don’t think that’s for us to decide. We’re into the rules and regulations part, and the car didn’t meet specifications, and that’s the bottom line,” he said.
So, in effect, this penalty has really put a huge dent in the effort of the RCR #33 Cheerios Chevy’s attempt to win the 2010 Sprint cup championship.
What do you think about this penalty for Clint Bowyer and the #33 team?
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!