Hendrick Motorsports’ appeal fell on deaf ears Tuesday, as the National Stock Racing Appeals Panel upheld all penalties assessed to the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet team after Daytona. Here is their official statement:
On March 13, 2012, the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel heard and considered the appeal of the #48 Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team.
The penalties concern Section 12-1 of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing;” Section 12-4(J): “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the Race Equipment used in the Event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20 of the NASCAR Rule Book, or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the Event;” and Section 20-2.1(E): “If in the judgment of NASCAR Officials, any part or component of the car not previously approved by NASCAR that has been installed or modified to enhance aerodynamic performance, will not be permitted: Unapproved car body modifications.”
This stemmed from an opening day inspection for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2012.
The original penalties assessed prior to the deferral were:
– Car Owner (Jeff Gordon) – Loss of 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Car Owner points
– Car Driver (Jimmie Johnson) – Loss of 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Driver points
– Crew Chief (Chad Knaus) – $100,000.00 fine. Suspended from the next six (6) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Events. Suspended from NASCAR until April 18, 2012. Placed on NASCAR probation until May 9, 2012.
– Car Chief (Ron Malec) – Suspended from the next six (6) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Events. Suspended from NASCAR until April 18, 2012. Placed on NASCAR probation until May 9, 2012.
Upon hearing the testimony, carefully reviewing the facts and historically comparative penalties, the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel was to uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR. The Appellants have the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Chief Appellate Officer.
Ed Bennett – Appellate Administrator and non-voting member
Note that no specific explanation was given other than to uphold the penalties. Hendrick Motorsports has already announced they’ll appeal to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner, John Middlebrook. His decision, to uphold or rescind the penalty will be final.
“I don’t accept it, period,” the car owner said after learning of the decision. Crew chief Knaus and car chief Malec will be on the pit box at Bristol as the final appeal won’t be heard until next week.
The official Hendrick Motorsports statement reaffirms that the team will seek a second appeal to the Commissioner. The team released the following statement shortly after the verdict of the panel was rendered:
“Hendrick Motorsports will request a hearing before the National Stock Car Racing chief appellate officer to continue its appeal of NASCAR sanctions related to the No. 48 Sprint Cup Series team.
“‘The panel was generous with its time today, and we appreciated the opportunity to talk through our concerns,’ said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. ‘We feel strongly about this issue and will continue to pursue it at the next level.’
“Adjustments to No. 48 team personnel are not planned while the appeal is ongoing.”