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

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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.