Wallace's Nationwide team wins appeal for penalty issued at Daytona

Updated: March 3, 2008, 6:46 PM ET
By Terry Blount and David Newton | ESPN.com

Rusty Wallace said Tuesday that the No. 64 Chevrolet Nationwide Series team he owns won its appeal to National Stock Car Racing Commission for a penalty issued at Daytona.

"All bolts appeared to be fully engaged," the commission wrote in its 2-1 decision. "The slight deflection at one corner of the cover which gave rise to the penalty was arguable, given the overall design of the oil tank reservoir encasement."

The commission reinstated the 25 owner points, David Stremme's 25 driver points and the $15,000 fine. It also reinstated crew chief Steve Darne, who was given a six-race suspension from NASCAR. But Wallace said Darne has left the team for reasons unrelated to the Daytona incident.

Wallace's team was one of five at Daytona that had an unsecured oil reservoir lid. A similar problem came up in the postrace inspection for Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Ford team after its victory in the Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Sunday, but Wallace said Edwards' situation is different.

The lid on the No. 99 car was off. The one of Wallace's Nationwide was unsecured.

"Our situation was a defect in the piece that caused one corner to be up," Wallace said. "For the lid on Edwards' car to be completely off is totally bizarre.

"The oil levels are checked on the cars before the race, so someone had to leave the lid off. I don't think it was on purpose."

NASCAR officials claim the lid being off could create a minimal aerodynamic advantage by allowing easier air flow out of the car.

Wallace didn't know if his successful appeal would have any bearing on the other four Nationwide cars that received the same penalty at Daytona.

Terry Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com. He can be reached at terry@blountspeak.com. David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter