NASCAR announced on Tuesday that Richard Childress Racing has appealed the P5 penalty levied against the No. 31 team, and that appeal will be heard by the National Motorsports Appeals Panel on April 16. Till the appeal is held, the suspended crew members – crew chief Luke Lambert, team tire technician James Bender and team engineer Philip Surgen will be allowed to be at the track.
National Motorsports Appeals Panel will hear RCR appeal of #31 team P5 penalty on April 16. Fine, suspensions deferred until then. #NASCAR
— David Higdon (@HigNASCAR) April 7, 2015
NASCAR announced on Tuesday, March 31 that No. 31 NSCS team crew chief Luke Lambert has been fined a total of $125,000 ($75,000 plus $50,000), suspended from the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship races and been placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31 as a result of altering the tires. Additionally, team tire technician James Bender and team engineer Philip Surgen have been suspended from the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship races and been placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31. Also, Ryan Newman and car owner Richard Childress each have been penalized with the loss of 75 (50 plus 25) championship driver and championship car owner points.
“NASCAR takes very seriously its responsibility to govern and regulate the rules of the sport in order to ensure competitive balance,” Steve O’Donnell, Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, said. “We’ve been very clear that any modifications to race vehicle tires is an unacceptable practice and will not be tolerated.”
Torrey Galida, President of Richard Childress Racing, released the following statement with regards to the penalties.
“We understand the seriousness of the penalty. In fact, RCR has been one of the most outspoken opponents against ‘tire bleeding’ since the rumors began to surface last season. Once NASCAR provides us with the specific details of the infraction we will conduct a further internal investigation, and evaluate our options for an appeal.”
The penalties come as a result of a post-event tire audit that was conducted following the race at Auto Club Speedway. The breakdown of the rules that the No. 31 team broke is below.
12.1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing
20.16: Wheels and tires
- Any device, modification, or procedure to the tire or wheel, including the valve stem hardware, that is used to release pressure, beyond normal pressure adjustments, from the tire and/or inner shield, will not be permitted.
- Modifications to the tires, by treatment or any other means, will not be permitted.
Per section 188.8.131.52.1, the above results in a P5 penalty as P5 violations can include, “Effecting, modifying and/or altering the standard tires in any way, other than through authorized means such as tire pressure adjustments within the recommended range, permitted tire cooling when mounted on the race vehicle; or heat-cycling on the race vehicle on the race track earlier in the event”.
Below, per section 184.108.40.206.2 is the minimum P5 Penalty options.
- A. Loss of 50 championship driver and owner points, regardless of whether the violation occurred during a Championship race or not
- B. $75,000-$125,000 fine
- Suspension for the next six series Championship Races, plus any non-championship races or special events which might occur during that time period, for the crew chief and any other team members as determined by NASCAR
- Probation through the end of the calendar year for all suspended members, or for a six-month period following the issuance of the penalty notice if that period spans across two consecutive seasons
Also, if the penalty is detected during post-race inspection, it could also include the following per section 220.127.116.11.3
- Loss of an additional 25 Championship driver and owner points; regardless of whether it was a Championship Race or not
- Loss of an additional $50,000