RCR appeal fails to get penalties further reduced for Ryan Newman and his team


CONCORD, N.C. – Richard Childress Racing failed to get penalties to Ryan Newman and his team reduced Wednesday by the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer.

Bryan Moss, the final appeals officer, kept the penalties at what the National Motorsports Appeals Panel decided April 16. The hearing lasted more than nine hours at the NASCAR R&D Center.

Moss made his decision “based on the preponderance of evidence, (RCR’s No. 31 Sprint Cup team) violated the Rules.” NASCAR ruled the team manipulated tires at the March 22 races at Auto Club Speedway.

NASCAR previously cited a third party in examining the tires but has not identified that group or what Newman’s team did to the tires. NASCAR took no questions from the media Wednesday night after announcing Moss’ decision.

No further appeal is available to Richard Childress Racing.

That means Ryan Newman’s crew chief Luke Lambert, tire technician James Bender and engineer Philip Surgen will be suspended for the next six points races and also will miss the Sprint All-Star race. They’ll be able to return to the track for the July 5 race at Daytona International Speedway.

Todd Parrott will serve as Newman’s crew chief during Lambert’s suspension.

“We do not agree with the final ruling,” RCR spokesperson Tim Packman said, reading a statement from Childress.  “We feel that we had a compelling case. We still feel we were in the right and the facts presented today would have proved that. We stand behind our suspended team members and look forward to their return. We will now move on and continue our goals of winning races and making the Chase.”

NASCAR initially docked Newman 75 driver points, Childress 75 owner points and fined Lambert $125,000, along with suspending him six Cup races (plus any non-points races during that span) and placing him on probation through Dec. 31. NASCAR also suspended Bender and Surgen six races each (plus any non-points races during that span) and placed both on probation through Dec. 31.

The National Motorsports Appeals Panel reduced some of the penalties April 16 because “there is no written explanation of what constitutes a post-race inspection” in the Rule Book. The Panel reduced the point penalty to Newman and Childress to 50 points each and cut Lambert’s fine to $75,000 but kept the rest of the penalties. The Panel consisted of former USAC president John Capels, former Speed Channel executive Hunter Nickell and Dale Pinilis, longtime promoter of Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Friday’s NASCAR Cup, Xfinity schedule at Richmond

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The racing weekend at Richmond International Raceway kicks off today.

The NASCAR Cup Series has one practice session and late afternoon qualifying, while the Xfinity Series has two practice sessions at the 0.75-mile track.

Keep an eye on Jimmie Johnson this weekend as he goes for his third consecutive NASCAR Cup win, having taken the checkered flag at Texas three weeks ago and Monday at Bristol.

Here’s how today’s action shapes up:

(All times are Eastern)

9 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. – Cup garage open

10:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.  – Xfinity garage open

11:30 a.m. – 12:55 p.m. – Cup practice (Fox Sports 1, MRN)

1 – 1:55 p.m. – Xfinity practice (FS1)

3 – 3:55 p.m. – Final Xfinity practice (FS1)

4:45 p.m. – Cup qualifying; three rounds/multi-car (FS1, MRN)

NASCAR America: 50 States in 50 Shows: Michigan

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Every NASCAR Cup driver had to come from somewhere, and for Brad Keselowski and Erik Jones, they came from Michigan.

Today’s edition of “50 States in 50 Shows” takes you to the Great Lake State.

The track that gets our attention is Dixie Motor Speedway in Birch Run. A track Jones cut his teeth on and where he set a record in 2010 by becoming the youngest driver to win an ASA Late Model race when he was 14.

Oh, and they also race school buses at the track.


NASCAR America: Steve Letarte: Richmond ‘pivotal’ race for Joe Gibbs Racing

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Compared to the winning pace Joe Gibbs Racing kept the previous two seasons, it’s been a long time since the four-car team visited victory lane.

JGR last won 11 races ago in the November race at Texas Motor Speedway with Carl Edwards, who is not racing this year. The last win by a current JGR driver was the fall race at Richmond International Raceway, where Denny Hamlin triumphed.

Now, none of its drivers are in the top 10 in points.

RIR is where NASCAR heads this weekend for a race NASCAR America analyst Steve Letarte believes is “pivotal” for the team that’s won the last three races at the .75-mile track.

“We have to remember this is a new aerodynamic package for this year,” Letarte said. “There’s something about it that hasn’t really suited this JGR Toyotas. I don’t think they have found exactly the right combination, it seems Furniture Row (Racing) has. I look at Richmond, the speeds are a little bit down, aerodynamics won’t be as dominate. Even if they’re not dominate and they don’t win, they have to run better.”


NASCAR America: Comparing achievements of The King, The Intimidator and Jimmie Johnson

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Just two days after his retirement announcement, Dale Earnhardt came to the defense of his Hendrick Motorsports teammate and seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson on Twitter

After a fan attempted to criticize Johnson’s achievements by comparing them to fellow seven-time champions Dale Earnahrdt Sr., and Richard Petty, Dale Jr. said the system Johnson has competed in is twice as challenging as the eras of his father and Petty.

Watch the video to see Dale Jr. and other drivers discuss the differences between Johnson’s era and those of his predecessors.