Richard Childress Racing’s appeal? Denied.
On Wednesday, RCR met with NASCAR officials for their final appeal against the penalties imposed against the No. 31 Sprint Cup team. The hearing took place at the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, N.C.
Final Appeals Officer Bryan Moss upheld the penalties, officially putting crew chief Luke Lambert under suspension as well as docking driver Ryan Newman 50 driver points, owner Richard Childress 50 owner points and fining Lambert $75,000.
“Based on a preponderance of evidence,” Moss stated, “the appellants violated the rules.”
The penalty was in response to the No. 31 allegedly knowingly manipulating their tires by drilling minute holes into the tires, a process that allows air to bleed out and maintain a more stable air pressure. The penalties were announced following the race at Auto Club Speedway.
The original P5 penalty levied against the No. 31 team was a $125,000 fine, six-race suspension and probation for Lambert, a six-race suspension and probation for tire technician James Bender and race engineer Philip Surgen and a 75-point deduction of both driver and owner points for the No. 31.
RCR immediately appealed the penalties, which has allowed Lambert to remain at the track. Both Bender and Surgen are currently serving their suspensions.
Following an appeals hearing on April 16, the points penalties were reduced to a loss of 50 points (both owners and drivers) and Lambert was only fined $75,000. The suspensions were upheld after that appeal. That decision was further appealed, which led to today’s hearing.
Following the decision, RCR made the following statement: “We feel we had a compelling case and still feel we were in the right and the facts presented today would have proved that.
“We stand behind our suspended team members and look forward to their return. We will now move on and continue our goals of winning races and making the Chase.”
Todd Parrott will serve as Newman’s crew chief in the interim.