NASCAR issued its weekly penalty report Wednesday. A total of two NASCAR Sprint Cup teams and two NASCAR XFINITY Series teams were penalized following last week’s events at Chicagoland Speedway. The biggest penalty was to the team of Michael Waltrip Racing and driver Clint Bowyer. Bowyer’s team was penalized for an infraction found on opening day. While not specifying where or what the infraction involved NASCAR said the infraction was a P4 level penalty these apply to sections 12.1, 20. 14.c, 220.127.116.11.k, 18.104.22.168.d, 22.214.171.124.1.d & f, 126.96.36.199.2 of the NASCAR rule book.
As a result of the infractions, crew chief Billy W. Scott was fined $75,000, suspended for the next three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship events and placed on NASCAR probation for six months. Driver Clint Bowyer was penalized 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Driver points. Car owner Rob Kauffman was penalized 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Owner points.
According to a NASCAR source who asked to remain anonymous, the part in question was an illegal track bar and that the rule the violated prohibits beveled washers and/or other components that allow the track bar movement under load. The track bar falls under sections k and c of the NASCAR rule book.
The team can appeal the ruling and there seems to be an indication that they will do just that as NASCAR said in their ruling that they have requested to the Appeals Administrator of the National Motorsports Appeals Panel that the appeals process described in the rule book be expedited. The team issued a statement via email shortly after the penalties were announced:
“Michael Waltrip Racing respectfully disagrees with today’s penalties and plans to immediately appeal. MWR has made mistakes in the past, but we feel we are correct in this instance. We look forward to the opportunity to present our case to the appeals committee and have no further public comment until the process is completed.”
The Michael Waltrip Racing team has been embroiled in controversy during NASCAR’s Chase before. In 2013 the team was accused of trying to manipulate the final race before the Chase in order to secure Martin Truex Jr., then an MWR driver, a spot in the Chase. After an investigation, Truex was moved out of the Chase field, the team received one of the largest fines in NASCAR history, $300,000 and saw its general manager indefinitely suspended. The team has never really recovered and last month announced they will be shutting down at the end of this season. Bowyer finished 19th Sunday at Chicagoland.
Should MWR lose its appeal, Bowyer would fall from 15th in the points to 16th. In addition to the MWR team the No. 10 team of driver Danica Patrick was penalized for an infraction that happened during pre-qualifying inspection. According to NASCAR the right side quarter panel behind the rear wheel/tire was modified during pre-qualifying inspection. Crew chief Daniel Knost was placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31, 2015. Car chief Pete White was placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31, 2015.
In the Xfinity series, NASCAR XFINITY Series No. 18 team ws penalized for an infraction that occurred during pre-race on Sept. 19. According to NASCAR the right side vertical extension panel (side skirt) was modified after pre-race inspection. Crew chief Eric P. Phillips was placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31, 2015. Crew member John P. Egbert Jr. was placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31, 2015.
The No. 54 car failed heights during post-race inspection on Sept. 19. The car was driven by race winner Kyle Busch. Crew chief Christopher W. Gayle was fined $12,500 and placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31, 2015. Car owner J. D. Gibbs was penalized 10 series championship owner points.