Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Updated: September 30, 3:29 PM ET
Clint Bowyer's appeal unsuccessful
By David Newton
Richard Childress was denied his appeal Wednesday of the penalty that has taken the Sprint Cup team of Clint Bowyer out of Chase contention, but he's not through fighting.
The owner of Richard Childress Racing will make a final appeal to chief appellate officer John Middlebrook after the National Stock Car Racing Commission unanimously rejected his case by a 3-0 vote.
No date was given, but it won't be before Sunday's race at Kansas.
An angry Childress said he was very disappointed in the commission's decision.
"We have proof," said Childress, who later questioned the fairness of the procedure.
The governing body penalized Bowyer 150 points because the car that won the Chase opener at New Hampshire didn't meet specifications. Crew chief Shane Wilson was suspended for six weeks and fined $150,000. Richard Childress was docked 150 owner points.
Wilson will be allowed to remain Bowyer's crew chief until the final appeal is heard.
"I am disappointed but not surprised by the decision knowing how the appeal system is structured," Childress said in a statement. "We proved beyond a reasonable doubt how the car was found to be out of tolerance after the race.
"That being said, we will not let this be a distraction to the primary goal of one of our teams winning the Sprint Cup Series championship."
Childress brought in Dr. Charles Manning, who owns Accident Reconstruction Analysis in Raleigh, N.C. Manning said he has no doubt that Bowyer's car was knocked sixty-thousands of an inch out of tolerance by the wrecker that pushed it after it ran out of gas following the win.
Manning said he duplicated the incident with a wrecker and car of the same specifications.
"They [the commission] paid no attention, which says something about what's going on in there," said Manning, noting he has been an accident analysis for 45 years and used many times to prove cause in a court of law. "What we brought was positive proof that the damage was caused by the tow truck pushing the car."
Manning was whisked away before further comment.
Cup series director John Darby, who represented NASCAR, said he presented the same evidence that led to the original finding. Darby said he spent an hour to 90 minutes with the commission that asked "a lot of questions."
He would not share exact measurements or details for where the car violated tolerances because the appeal process isn't over. But he did stand up for the process.
"I think they're all fair," Darby said. "They're very intense. I can't lie to you, you get nervous when you go to one of these."
Bowyer had moved from 12th to second in points with the victory that ended an 88-race losing streak. The penalty knocked him from 35 points behind leader Denny Hamlin to 12th place and 185 out.
He finished 25th this past weekend at Dover to fall to 235 points out.
The three-member commission, consisting of former Indianapolis 500 driver Lyn St. James, former crew chief Waddell Wilson and former USAC official Johnny Caples, made its ruling after meeting with RCR and NASCAR officials at the Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., for approximately five hours.
The deliberations took so long that Childress placed a sign in a window that said, "Order Pizza & Budweiser." A short time later a Pizza Hut delivery person brought several boxes of pepperoni and cheese pizza.
Childress seemed relaxed at the time, kicking his feet up on a board room table. He was anything but afterwards, making a short statement and leaving.
"Nothing unexpected the way this thing works," said Childress, taking a slap at the commission.
Bowyer's team and RCR were warned on the Tuesday after the car that finished sixth at Richmond to clinch a spot in the Chase barely passes inspection.
The New Hampshire car passed post-race inspection at the track, but upon further review at the R&D Center they discovered issues with the back end tolerances. Childress claimed the illegal tolerance -- the car was too high in the back -- was the result of Bowyer's car being pushed by a wrecker.
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.