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Long still accountable for fine

6/18/2009 - NASCAR Carl Long

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Sprint Cup driver Carl Long had his 12-race suspension reduced to eight, but his record $200,000 fine remained after a final appeal to NASCAR Stock Car Racing commissioner Charles Strang.

Strang heard Long's appeal, which was denied two weeks ago by the stock car commission, on Monday in Chicago.

"The simple part of it means NASCAR don't care who you are or what your circumstances are," Long told ESPN.com.

Long was penalized for having an oversized engine at Lowe's Motor Speedway last month. He and his wife, car owner DeeDee Long, were suspended 12 races and docked 200 points. Crew chief Charles Swing was fined $200,000.

All are NASCAR-record penalties.

Long appealed in hopes of leniency for his underfunded, part-time team, arguing neither his crew chief nor he had the resources to pay such a heavy fine. The commission isolated the suspension to the Cup series instead of all series, but that wasn't the result Long had hoped for, so he went back to Strang.

Long said he doesn't know how he will pay the fine.

"I suppose I will stand in front of the racetrack with my helmet and beg for change," he said.

More than $16,000 has been donated to Long's cause on his Web site.

"That's still a long way from $200,000," Long said.

Long said the only way he can drive now is for another team until the fine is paid. He also is concerned with getting his license back in good standing.

Long bought the engine from longtime builder Ernie Elliott and said all of the paperwork showed it was within NASCAR specifications. It malfunctioned May 15 during practice for the All-Star race, prompting NASCAR's inspection.

Long argued that had he believed the engine was illegal, he could have gone home instead of turning the engine over to inspectors and trying to qualify for the nonpoints race with a backup motor.

The engine was 0.17 cubic inches more than the legal limit.

Long said the infraction may have been due to an error on the part of the engine builder, expansion due to overheating or general wear and tear.

The commission sided with NASCAR, saying the race team is ultimately responsible for all components on the race car, including any supplied by third-party vendors.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.