Monday, October 4, 2010
Clint Bowyer's final appeal Tuesday
By David Newton
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The final appeal on the penalties given to Clint Bowyer's Sprint Cup team following his win in the Chase opener at New Hampshire will be heard on Tuesday.
It will be the first ruling for NASCAR's new chief appellate officer, John Middlebrook.
The National Stock Car Racing Commission voted 3-0 against the initial appeal made by Richard Childress Racing last Wednesday at NASCAR's Research and Development Center in Concord.
Team owner Richard Childress insisted he had proof that Bowyer's car was out of tolerance because of a push from a wrecker after running out of gas following the victory burnout. He immediately paid the cost of the final appeal to be heard by Middlebrook, who took over as the chief appellate officer this year.
Bowyer was fined 150 points and crew chief Shane Wilson was suspended for six weeks and fined $150,000, although he has yet to sit out a race while the process is under appeal.
Childress hopes reconstruction analyst Dr. Charles Manning will be able to sway Middlebrook where he couldn't the commission.
"We hope that this court of appeal will listen a little more and understand that what we did was very scientific,'' Manning said. "We had good telemetry. We recorded and measured everything very accurately.
"NASCAR doesn't have to get after us. We didn't disagree it was off speculation, but the reason it was is because of the wrecker and not because of something the Richard Childress Racing team did.''
Manning of Raleigh, N.C.-based Accident Reconstruction Analysis said two tests of a wrecker pushing a car set up the same way as Bowyer's after winning at New Hampshire showed the left rear end moved upward a 40,000th of an inch.
He told the commission that his scientific study "clearly'' explains the 39,000th of an inch NASCAR told RCR officials the car was beyond tolerances. He called NASCAR's response that the wrecker didn't hit the car hard enough to move the tolerance "malarkey.''
"They came out and claimed it was negated by the telemetry which didn't show a very sharp impact,'' Manning said. "We didn't have any sharp impact, either. We pushed it easily. They said the visual inspection of the car showed nothing in the way of damage. Well, after we got through testing none of the cars showed anything of note or damage.
"They said the visual inspection of the post-race push showed they pushed very gentle. We pushed more gentle . . . between six and 10 miles per hour. So what they said was a bunch of malarkey.''
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.