Appeals panel amends penalty of suspended former Xfinity crew member

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The National Motorsports Appeals Panel announced Wednesday it had amended a penalty assessed on May 9 to former Xfinity Series crew member Michael L. Hayden.

Hayden was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR after getting into an altercation with JP Motorsports owner Jerry Hataway in the infield of Dover International Speedway on May 4 and breaking his jaw.

After hearing Hayden’s testimony, the appeals panel rescinded the indefinite suspension.

Hayden is now required to pay a $1,000 fine and must immediately enroll in NASCAR’s Reinstatement Program and follow all requirements issued.

According to the Dover Police Department, Hayden, 33, and Hataway, 56, were in a “verbal argument over issues pertaining to Hayden’s employment with the team” when Hayden began punching Hataway.

Hayden later told ESPN that he was acting in self-defense.

“He came at me first,” Hayden said. “He put his hands on me first and I hit him. He kept coming after me after I had hit him. Even when we were getting separated from NASCAR officials and by people from other teams, he kept coming after me.”

The three-member appeals panel was made up of Richard Gore, Hunter Nickell and Mike Skinner.

Hayden can appeal the decision to the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer.