BRISTOL, Tenn. – Richard Childress Racing elected a final appeal of the penalty to Ryan Newman’s team, allowing for the return of crew chief Luke Lambert this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The appeal won’t be heard by Final Appeals Officer Bryan Moss until next week, and NASCAR has granted deferrals of the six-race suspensions of Lambert, engineer Phil Surgen and tire specialist James Bender.
It wasn’t immediately clear if RCR would bring the trio back at Bristol, where Newman qualified 18th Friday with interim crew chief Todd Parrott. A request for comment from the team wasn’t returned immediately. Parrott held a session with the news media Friday morning with the understanding that he would be substituting for Lambert through Sunday.
A date hasn’t been set for the final appeal hearing, but a NASCAR spokesman said it could be decided by Saturday. Moss likely would hear the case next week.
Newman’s team was slapped with a P5 penalty after NASCAR said it had evidence of tire manipulation during the March 23 race at Auto Club Speedway. The team argued its case Thursday before the National Motorsports Appeal Panel, which amended the penalty slightly in RCR’s favor.
The panel voted to reduce a points deduction from 75 to 50 points (moving Newman from 24th to 20th in the Sprint Cup standings) and a fine to Lambert was decreased from $125,000 to $75,000.
The rest of the penalty was left intact, though, and RCR said in a release Thursday night that Lambert would begin serving the suspension at Bristol.