Childress: Clint Bowyer had fair appeal

Updated: October 5, 2010, 2:21 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

CONCORD, N.C. -- Team owner Richard Childress emerged from Tuesday's final appeal of the penalties given to Clint Bowyer's team for being out of tolerance after the Chase opener at New Hampshire feeling much better about the process.

He's still waiting on an answer.

"Today was a very, very fair appeal or hearing with the commissioner," Childress said outside of NASCAR's Research and Development Center in Concord. "Both sides made good points together sitting in the same place. There won't be an outcome until later today or tomorrow.

"Whatever it is I feel good about it. It was a very fair opportunity for us to state our case today. I would just like to ask the race fans [to] put all this behind us. Let's go racing."

The decision will come from NASCAR's new chief appellate officer, John Middlebrook, who told both sides he wanted to sift through all of the information presented before making a decision.

Childress was much more at ease after this appeal than he was last Wednesday, when the National Stock Car Racing Commission voted 3-0 to uphold NASCAR's decision to dock Bowyer 150 points and suspend crew chief Shane Bowyer and car chief Chad Haney for six weeks.

The biggest differences was both sides made their cases before Middlebrook at the same time, and were able to cross-examine the other side. In the first appeal, each party met separately with the commission and there was no opportunity to ask questions of the other side.

"Totally different," Childress said. "It was a very fair process. ... Today's procedure, if it was done similar to that in the other appeal I would have not been here today. We would have never appealed a second time.

"I would have felt we would have had an opportunity to ask them and they had an opportunity to ask us. We didn't get to hear that in the last deal."

After the first appeal Childress insisted he had proof that Bowyer's car was out of tolerance -- NASCAR said the left rear was too high -- because of a push from a wrecker after running out of gas following the victory burnout.

Childress said he presented basically the same case he did last week without his chief witness, Dr. Charles Manning. Middlebrook had the option of calling witnesses and chose not to call Manning.

Manning, of Raleigh, N.C.-based Accident Reconstruction Analysis, said two tests of a wrecker pushing a car set up the same way Bowyer's car was after winning at New Hampshire showed the left rear end moved upward 40,000th of an inch.

He told the commission that his scientific study "clearly" explains the 39,000th of an inch NASCAR told RCR officials the car was beyond tolerances. He called NASCAR's response that the wrecker didn't hit the car hard enough to move the tolerance "malarkey."

"They came out and claimed it was negated by the telemetry which didn't show a very sharp impact," Manning said last week. "We didn't have any sharp impact, either. We pushed it easily. They said the visual inspection of the car showed nothing in the way of damage. Well, after we got through testing none of the cars showed anything of note or damage.

"They said the visual inspection of the post-race push showed they pushed very gentle. We pushed more gentle ... between six and 10 miles per hour. So what they said was a bunch of malarkey."

Should Childress lose the appeal, Bowyer will be 252 points out of the Chase lead heading to California. Also, Wilson and Haney will begin serving their suspensions.

Whatever the outcome, Childress is ready to put the issue to rest.

"I've had two miserable weeks," he said. "I missed an elk hunt and I missed the opportunity to be in Montana, so I'm real unhappy about that. ... Let's go racing."

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

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