Clint Bowyer's point deduction stands
CONCORD, N.C. -- Richard Childress lost on Tuesday his final appeal to have the 150-point penalty levied against Clint Bowyer after the Chase opener at New Hampshire eliminated or reduced.
But he did get the six-week suspensions for crew chief Shane Wilson and car chief Chad Haney reduced to four weeks and Wilson's $150,000 fine reduced to $100,000.
And the owner of Richard Childress Racing was happy with the process this time.
Newton: Penalty Stands, Process Improved
If NASCAR wants to end the bashing of its appeals process, then make the initial appeal more like the one seen Tuesday, writes David Newton. Blog
"I'm disappointed that the results are not what we wanted but I feel we received a fair hearing today," Childress said in a statement. "The final step in the appeals process is very good and I can assure you we would not have taken our case to the chief appellate officer if the first step in the process had been as fair as today's."
The decision came from NASCAR's new chief appellate officer, John Middlebrook, about five hours after the appeal began.
"After reviewing all the data, presentation and factors involved, I am ruling NASCAR was correct in its decision to levy penalties," Middlebrook said in a statement. "I believe that the revisions that have been made to the penalties are consistent and fair to both parties involved."
Sprint Cup series director John Darby was pleased with the decision, saying it was a statement that the inspection process is working. He would not give specific numbers of how far Bowyer's car was out of tolerance or comment on whether the violation was the result of an intentional attempt to violate the rules.
"I don't know," Darby said. "The measurements of the car were outside the lines."
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 Bowyer and Haney for six weeks.
The biggest difference was both sides made their case before Middlebrook together and were able to basically 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 the last deal."
Darby defended the process as it is, saying having several layers of appeals is good for the sport.
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. He immediately paid the cost of the final appeal to be heard by Middlebrook.
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 as Bowyer's 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."
There were no such comments on Tuesday even though Bowyer will be 252 points out of the Chase lead heading to California.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.