By Joe Dunn
On Wednesday morning NASCAR issued statements relating to rules infractions detected over the weekend in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Gillette Fusion Pro Glide 500 at Pocono Raceway and from the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway.
On Sunday at Pocono, NASCAR officials noticed the rear tires on the No. 38 car to be nearly flat after a rain delay. Upon examination it was discovered that the wheels had bleeder valves installed on the valve stems. The official release from NASCAR states:
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 9, 2010) – NASCAR has issued penalties, suspensions and fines to the No. 38 team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as a result of rules infractions committed during last Sunday’s event at Pocono Raceway.
The team was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-10.7J (unapproved modification to valve stem hardware) of the 2010 NASCAR Rule Book.
As a result, crew chief Steve Lane has been fined $100,000, suspended for the next 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup events, suspended from NASCAR until Sept. 15 and placed on probation until Dec. 31. Car chief Richard Bourgeois and tire specialist Michael Harrold have also been suspended from the next 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup events, suspended from NASCAR until Sept. 15 and placed on probation until Dec. 31.
Driver Travis Kvapil and owner Doug Yates have been penalized with the loss of 150 driver and 150 owner points, respectively.
The points penalty drops the No. 38 team from 32nd and locked in the top 35, to 36th, outside the top 35. The points loss moves the No.7 of Robby Gordon Motorsports back into 35th place and locked in the field this week at Michigan.
On Saturday, during the race at Nashville, NASCAR officials observed team members from the No.38 team, that had left the race, moving tires to the No. 10 team and then mounted and used on the No. 10 car. Here is the official release from NASCAR:
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 9, 2010) – NASCAR has penalized the No. 10 and No. 38 teams that compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series as a result of rule violations during the June 5 race at Nashville Superspeedway.
Both teams were found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules); 20A-10.8.2E (teams will not be permitted to use tires or wheels from another team unless approved by the series director) and 20A-10.8.2L (identification numbers have been changed on previously approved tires) of the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rule Book.
As a result, Stuart Cooper, crew chief of the No. 10 car and Sean Whisenhunt, tire specialist on the No. 10, along with Trip Bruce, crew chief for the No. 38 car and Kevin Bellicourt, tire specialist for the No. 38, all have been suspended from the next two NASCAR Nationwide Series races, suspended from NASCAR until June 23 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. Bruce and Cooper also were each fined $25,000.
Tayler Malsam, driver of the No. 10 car, and Jason Leffler, driver of the No. 38, each were penalized with the loss of 25 NASCAR Nationwide championship driver points for violating Sections 12-1, 12-4-J, 20A-10.8.2E and 20A-10.8.2L.
Additionally, the owners of the No. 10 and No. 38 cars, Todd Braun and Ralph Braun, respectively, each were penalized with the loss of 25 NASCAR Nationwide championship owner points also for violating Sections 12-1, 12-4-J, 20A-10.8.2E and 20A-10.8.2L.
The penalties did not effect the points standing of the No. 38 car, but it did drop the No.10 car from 12th to 13th in owners standings and also dropped driver Jason Leffler from 7th to 8th in Championship driver standings.
Statement from Front Row Motorsports regarding the penalties issued:
“Front Row Motorsports supports NASCAR in its efforts to enforce competition rules and to maintain integrity throughout the sport. Therefore, Front Row accepts that NASCAR must penalize the team for a rules infraction regarding valve stem caps on the #38 car at Pocono Raceway on June 6. “We take the rules of this sport very seriously, and we support NASCAR in its enforcement of those rules,” said Bob Jenkins, team owner. “It was not our intent to put unapproved valve stem caps on our car at Pocono, a track where such a maneuver would clearly not provide any advantage. We are conducting our own internal investigation to determine how those parts got into our inventory and onto our car last weekend. “While we recognize we have to pay for our mistake, this was an unintentional, isolated incident,” Jenkins continued. “We plan to immediately submit an appeal through NASCAR’s formal appeal process as outlined by the NASCAR rule book.” The team’s three entries will compete this weekend at Michigan International Speedway.”
If the appeal is filed before Friday, the No. 38 will remain 32nd in points and Robby Gordon will have to qualify on time. This will also delay the suspensions pending the hearing.
Todd Braun statement regarding penalties for the #38 and #10 teams following Nationwide Series race at Nashville Superspeedway: “Though we feel the penalties levied against Braun Racing for infractions at Nashville Superspeedway against the #38 and #10 teams are harsh under the circumstances, we understand NASCAR’s need to be consistent in making sure teams adhere to the rule book in order to promote a level playing field,” says Braun. “This situation is the result of miscommunication between team personnel and we will need to further evaluate the circumstances and work to improve our procedures to ensure this does not happen again.”