Appeals Panel reduces Circle Sport Racing’s penalty from Auto Club Speedway

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The National Motorsports Appeals Panel reduced the penalty to Circle Sport Racing car owner Joe Falk and crew chief Richard “Slugger” Labbe on Tuesday.

The result is that Falk regains 15 car owner points and Labbe’s fine was cut by $30,000.

NASCAR cited Circle Sport Racing with a P4 infraction for an illegal rear truck trailing arm and assembly kit that series officials ruled was mounted improperly. The infraction was discovered during opening day inspection at Auto Club Speedway.

Tuesday, the panel reduced the P4 penalty to a P2 infraction.

With that, the panel reduced the 25-point penalty to Falk to 10 points and cut Labbe’s fine from $50,000 to $20,000. Labbe’s three-race suspension remains. He’s served two races already. Labbe also remains under probation through Dec. 31.

The panel stated that the team “violated one of the rules set forth in the penalty notice, specifically with regards to the aluminum component, but that the other infractions are subject to interpretation.’’

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Rule Book states that the truck trailing arm mounting adapter must be machined from aluminum solid.

“The process was very fair,’’ Falk said in a statement. “We agree the part should have been presented to the R&D Center. We’re satisfied with the outcome, and we won’t appeal further.

By getting 15 points back, Falk moves up one spot to 34th in the car owner standings.

With provisionals based on car owner points, the higher up in points a team is the better a chance of making a race.

The three-member panel included Russell Hackett (operator of Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C.), Lake Speed (former driver) and John White (promoter of Spencer Speedway and Chemung Speedway in New York).