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Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Updated: May 29, 4:30 PM ET
Riggs, Sauter penalized 150 points each for wing mount violations at LMS

By David Newton
ESPN.com

CONCORD, N.C. -- The Haas CNC Racing teams of Scott Riggs and Johnny Sauter were docked 150 championship points each and their crew chiefs and car chiefs have been suspended for the next six weeks due to violations discovered on their wing mounts last weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

In addition, crew chiefs Bootie Barker (Riggs) and Derrick Jennings (Sauter) were fined $100,000 each, and owners Joe Cutter and Margaret Haas were docked 150 owner points.

Riggs will drop to No. 34 in owner points, which determine the top 35 guaranteed a spot in the field each week. Sauter and the No. 70 car will fall to 43th.

The 150-point penalty is one of the largest in the history of the sport, exceeding the 100-point penalty given to Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s team for a wing mount penalty last season.

Haas officials could not be reached for comment, but in all likelihood they will appeal the decision.

Barker told ESPN.com on Sunday he's been running all season with the same wing mount setup on Riggs' car that was confiscated Saturday after NASCAR officials decided it was illegal. He said the car passed two inspections Thursday and wasn't impounded until somebody in the garage fingered the Haas teams.

"I'm not going to make any excuses," Barker said before Sunday's Coca-Cola 600. "The car is my responsibility. But if you knew the whole story it would be like, 'Hmph.' I do myself more harm than good if I say any more."

The cars were impounded prior to Saturday's Cup practice. Both teams were allowed to use backup cars and start in the back of the field.

Series director John Darby said NASCAR began looking into the allegations on Thursday night.

"All I know is the mounts were not in the same place as they were Thursday morning when they went through inspection," Darby said.

Barker was concerned about the motive of the person who reported the alleged infraction.

"Some people recognized we were doing better and better in points and they would do anything they can to keep us off," he said.

Riggs was 26th in owner points prior to the penalty. Sauter was 40th.

Barker believes he knows who turned the team in.

"I wish I could tell you some stuff," he said. "It would probably work against me until I know everything. The person I think that did it, and what we really did, it's pretty … I've never done it. I'll put it that way."

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.