Richard Childress supportive of team in appeal for RCR's penalties

ByBob Pockrass ESPN logo
Thursday, April 9, 2015

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Richard Childress issued a statement supporting his crew and its actions Thursday as his Richard Childress Racing team prepares for an appeal next week of one of the biggest NASCAR penalties in the sport's history.

Crew chief Luke Lambert was fined $125,000 and suspended for six points races while driver Ryan Newman was docked 75 points for the team intentionally bleeding air from its tires during the March 22 race at Auto Club Speedway. Also suspended for six races were team engineer Philip Surgen and tire specialist James Bender; and the team was docked 75 points in the owner standings.

NASCAR took tires from four teams during the California race and sent at least some of them to an independent lab. NASCAR announced the penalty March 31 but has declined to release publicly any specifics of what it found during its investigation.

"We feel confident we have a very compelling case to present to the appeals panel," Childress said in a statement Thursday. "We strongly believe in the intent of the rules and the integrity of our own teams while following those same rules."

The fine and suspensions have been deferred pending the April 16 appeal to a three-member panel appointed by NASCAR.

Childress said in the statement that he and the team will have no additional comment this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway concerning its case "out of respect for the appeal process."

NASCAR has a two-step appeals process, the first to a three-member panel where the burden of proof is on NASCAR and then a final appeal to former Gulfstream President Bryan Moss where the burden of proof is on the person or the team penalized.

Bleeding air out of a tire, typically done by poking a small hole, is considered both a safety and a competition issue. It would keep the tire from increasing air pressure and losing grip during a run while also increasing the possibility of the tire going flat.