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Not exactly a shocking development that the Bowyer appeal was denied

By admin | September 29, 2010


By Richard Allen

On Wednesday, the National Stock Car Racing Commission denied the appeal of the Richard Childress Racing #33 team relative to the infractions on their car following the Sylvania 300 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Driver Clint Bowyer won that race but the car’s body was found out of compliance during an intensive inspection in the NASCAR R&D Center.

The penalties originally assessed and eventually upheld were a six race suspension and $150,000 fine for crew chief Shane Wilson. A six race suspension for car chief Chad Haney. And, a 150 point loss for Bowyer and RCR. To have believed anything other than a denial of this appeal would happen could have been considered wishful thinking at best.

Both sides presented evidence to support their case. RCR brought in an expert in accident reconstruction who argued that a push from a wrecker actually caused the car’s body to shift. Dr. Charles Manning says that he has testified in numerous court cases involving auto accidents.

“They paid no attention, which says something about what’s going on in there,” said Manning. “What we brought was positive proof that the damage was caused by the tow truck pushing the car.”

The commission used information from the race car’s telemetry to show that there was no spike caused by a sharp enough impact from the wrecker to move the car‘s body. Also, the commission pointed out that the construction of the rear frame of the car indicated that there had been clear intent to misalign the body.

No matter what the evidence presented by either side, the real issue here is that this team was warned one full week ahead of time that NASCAR had issues with the cars in question and that little if anything was done to correct the problem.

Bowyer himself pointed out that a team warned in advance that their car would be thoroughly inspected would be foolish not to have that car in compliance. However, that is exactly what happened. Knowing full well their car would be taken to the R&D Center after the race at NHMS, the RCR crew should have had enough tolerance built in that there could be no question of its legality. Instead, they chose to push the limits of the gray area.

Keep in mind, NASCAR officials took it back the R&D Center because they knew, or at least suspected, what they were looking for.

When it came down to it, the committee(John Capels, Lyn St. James, Waddell Wilson and George Silbermann) made the only decision it could have made. Thus, it should have surprised no one when the ruling by unanimous vote was announced on Wednesday.

Follow @RacingWithRich on twitter.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.

Topics: Articles |

4 Responses to “Not exactly a shocking development that the Bowyer appeal was denied”

  1. Charles Says:
    September 30th, 2010 at 7:36 am


    Its not over yet!!
    Read where Richard Childress is going to take is appeal to Nascars “chief appllate officer” former 40 year General Motors Employee John Middlebrook!

    The key here is” Former 40 year General Motors employee”, hopefully John Middlebrook will do the right thing! But the “conflict of interest in that he working for General Motors even if retired is going to make a key ruling with a 40 year General Motors team owner that could effect the outcome of a Nascar Championship is not right!
    I mention this in a early column when Mr Middlebrook got the position it was not right because of his relationship with General Motors and that he could have influence!

    Dont get me wrong, I am sure Mr Middlebrook is a fine person, it Nascars fault for not having a better ‘conflicts of interest” policy if they put people with resumes like this in key ruling areas! They could they have found someone else who worked in other fields for positions like this!

    In my opinion there should be no former GM, Ford, Dodge or Toyota as long as they are racing in key positions of making decisions like this!

    Apointments to boards and fiqurehead posts is onething, but ruling on penalites is another!

  2. Steve Says:
    September 30th, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Charles, one might argue that having the deck stacked in Nascar’s favor (R&D Center, Appeals Council) would make Mr. Middlebrook the great equalizer in this instance.

    Regardless, if nascar wins people are going to call it bogus and unjust. If the penalty is overturned, people are going to say he is playing favorites with Childress. If it is overturned, I would call it karma. Nascar needs to taste a little of their own medicine.

  3. Marybeth Says:
    September 30th, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    I read this over on Frontstretch, by Matt McLaughlin Frontstretch, com Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2010 Dover-2 Race Recap by Matt McLaughlin; Sept. 27, 2010) & feel that it plays a part in determining who wins the chase so I am including it.
    “Clint Bowyer probably sent Mark Martin dinner after Martin’s car was disqualified after qualifying for Dover. At least it deflected some negative attention away from the RCR team. Martin’s car was found to have rear shocks with illegally high internal pressures. So, what’s going on? Apparently, the trick to making the car of sorrow handle better is to get the back of the car up further in the air so the rear spoiler is in clean air. To do this during the race some teams, most notably the Hendrick cars that have been dominant over the last few years, are using trick rear shocks. When cold, as in pre-race inspections, the car sits at a legal height. As the shocks heat up during an event the gas within them expands, raising the rear ride height. The car might not pass the height stick test immediately after the race, but given a half-hour to cool off at rest the gas contracts and the car returns to legal height. Apparently, some other teams figured out what HMS was doing and have tried to mimic it. Now, some are getting caught.”
    Someone commented the following, “Isn’t it logical to think that the shocks on Mark’s car are on Johnson’s? I guess we’ll never know for sure. I guess they’ll let Johnson’s car settle before they measure it.” Last week someone posted that, “No sane person ever believes any Hendrick car is legal.” To which I replied, “Junior’s is. :)”

  4. Marybeth Says:
    October 1st, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Rich, I believe that, Brian France, could pull off a huge public relations coup for himself, & make more money for himself…by dipping into some of his petty cash fund & buying or doing whatever it takes to get Jr. out of HMS, & to an owner who wants him winning. It would fill seats at his tracks to have Jr. running up front and winning again, which I do not believe that Rick is every going to allow. If Rick wanted Jr. winning, he would be. He doesn’t & it isn’t going to happen as long as Jr. is yoked to Rick. Come on Brian, do yourself and Jr. Nation a big favor and ‘free Jr.. :)