On Thursday afternoon, the National Motorsports Appeal Panel upheld the P5 penalty assessed to Richard Childress Racing’s No. 31 team on March 31, 2015 following the race at Auto Club Speedway. The three-person appeals panel consisted of Mr. John Capels, Mr. Hunter Nickell and Mr. Dale Pinilis. The trio determined that the No. 31 team was in violation of multiple sections of the rulebook but removed the additional 25-point, $50,000 fine assessed for a violation found in post-race inspection “because there is no written explanation of what constitutes a post-race inspection.”
The original penalty of 75 owner and driver points and $125,000 fine have been reduced to 50 owner and driver points and a $75,000 fine. The six-race suspensions for crew chief Luke Lambert, tire technician James Bender and race engineer Philip Surgen were upheld and will begin immediately.
The reduction in the points penalty moves Ryan Newman from 24th to 20th in the Sprint Cup Series standings.
“I’d like to thank the Appeals Panel for taking the time to hear our appeal today,” Childress said in a statement from the team. “While they decided to reduce the penalties to the minimum penalties for a P5 violation, I am disappointed that the entire penalty was not overturned given the facts we presented. In order for the team to move forward, and focus our efforts on the upcoming races, Luke [Lambert], Phil [Surgen] and James [Bender] will begin serving their suspensions this weekend at Bristol. Veteran crew chief Todd Parrott will fill in as crew chief for this weekend’s race. We are still discussing our options and have not yet determined whether to appeal the penalties to the Final Appeals Officer.”
RCR does have the right to appeal Thursday’s decision to the Final Appeals Officer per Section 15 of the NASCAR Rulebook.
The infractions were considered to be a violation of the following sections of the NASCAR Rule Book:
12.1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing
20.16: Wheels and tires
A. Any device, modification, or procedure to the tire or wheel, including the valve stem hardware, that is used to release pressure, beyond normal pressure adjustments, from the tire and/or inner shield, will not be permitted.
F. Modifications to the tires, by treatment or any other means, will not be permitted.