Penalty for failed inspection drops Edwards to sixth in Chase; he'll appeal
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carl Edwards was docked 25 points Tuesday because his race-winning car failed inspection at Dover International Raceway.
The penalty drops Edwards from third in the Chase for the championship standings to sixth. He's now 28 points behind series leader Jeff Gordon.
Team owner Jack Roush, who celebrated his 100th win Sunday with Edwards' victory, also was docked 25 owner points and crew chief Bob Osborne was fined $25,000.
Edwards' No. 99 Ford was deemed to be too low following post-race inspection. Although NASCAR determined the height infraction was not intentional, the team still was penalized in accordance with NASCAR's strict inspection policy.
Edwards has maintained that the car being low would not have helped him win the race, suggesting his Ford likely shifted when teammate Greg Biffle gave him a congratulatory post-race bump.
Every Point Counts
Losing 25 points might come back to haunt Carl Edwards in the Chase for the Championship. In the three years of the Chase, the widest margin of victory has been 56 points.
|Jimmie Johnson, '06||Matt Kenseth||-56|
|Tony Stewart, '05||Greg Biffle/Carl Edwards||-35|
|Kurt Busch, '04||Johnson||-8|
Kyle Busch and Johnny Sauter received similar penalties when their cars failed inspection following the July race at New Hampshire. Tony Stewart's car was too low following last week's race in New Hampshire, but NASCAR ruled it was caused by race damage.
Roush officials said the team would appeal.
"We have the misfortune of violating a rule which makes no sense," said team president Geoff Smith. "I say misfortune because we are being penalized for a violation that actually impaired the car's performance."
Smith said the team also objected to the 25-point deduction, because it deems it too steep a penalty for a driver competing in the Chase.
"What is unfair is that Carl is receiving a penalty that is 250 percent greater in its effect than a similarly assessed penalty against a non-Chase driver," Smith said. "Chase drivers are competing for a total of 1,950 points [in 10 Chase races]. All drivers competed for 5,070 points in the first 26 races. Do the math. The net effect is that a 25 point penalty falls unfairly hard on a Chase contender.
"That's simply not right. To equalize the penalty impact on all competitors, not more than 10 points should have been taken from a Chase contender."
Edwards dominated the second half of Sunday's race to score his third victory of the season. The win lofted him thick into the title hunt, just three points behind Gordon. Now he heads to Kansas Speedway mired in the middle of the cluttered standings.
The top six drivers are separated by 28 points.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press