Bad news for NASCAR driver Ryan Newman and Richard Childress Racing: while their penalties for tampering with their tires has been reduced slightly, the National Motorsports Appeals Panel upheld those penalties today. Newman's #31 car was caught with a slow leak in its tires at Auto Club Speedway.
The slow leak allowed its tires to bleed off air and maintain a more consistent pressure throughout the race. This not only gave them a competitive advantage by allowing their tires to remain more consistent for a longer period of time, but it was also tampering with a vital safety item on the car. Many series list tires under safety because they're the only four chunks of rubber that hold your car to the road.
NASCAR has three major areas that teams are forbidden to tamper with: engine, fuel and tires. Despite the reduction in penalties listed today, the #31 car's rules violation remains a P5 penalty, only one shy of the most severe ranking for NASCAR penalties.
According to NASCAR, the team prepared an extensive appeal of the allegations that they had made cheaty modifications to their tires. The team brought in at least two of the series' Goodyear tires as well as large poster boards and thick folders of paperwork to support their argument for innocense. Ultimately, however, it did not work.
The driver and owner's points penalties have been reduced from a 75 point hit to only a 50 point hit, and crew chief Luke Lambert's fine was reduced from $125,000 to $75,000. According to ESPN reporter Bob Pockrass, these penalties were reduced because some of the amounts were technically for post-race violations, and the tires that were found to be in violation were taken from the middle of the race.
The six-race suspension will now go into effect, and after that, the team members affected will be on probation until December 31.
The team has one more appeal they can make to National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer Bryan Moss. The team has not decided whether they will pursue that at this time or not.
One thing is certain: if you're going to cheat in NASCAR, try to avoid getting caught with illegal mods to the engine, fuel or tires.
Photo credit: Getty Images
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