Richard Childress Racing's attempt to get the penalties imposed on Clint Bowyer overturned have failed on a first instance, as their first appeal was denied on Wednesday.
Bowyer was handed a 150-point punishment plus a fine and suspensions to his team after the car he drove to victory in the Chase opener at Loudon failed a throughout inspection carried out at NASCAR's Research and Development facility.
Childress argued that Bowyer's car being pushed by a service vehicle following the race after he ran out of fuel, caused enough damage to the rear end of the No. 33 Chevy to make it fail measurements, despite the car passing the post-race inspection at the track.
The team exposed its case to the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel with support from Dr. Charles Manning, an accident reconstruction expert, who tried to prove to the panel that the left rear of Bowyer's car was modified after being towed to Victory Lane, moving it 130 thousandths of an inch too high and 60 thousandths beyond the mandated tolerance.
However, following around five hours of deliberation at NASCAR's R&D Center in Concord, N.C., the panel formed by former Indy car racer Lyn St. James, former NASCAR crew chief Waddell Wilson and retired USAC chairman Johnny Capels ruled unanimously against RCR's appeal, dismissing the arguments presented and upholding the penalties assessed.
"Claims that the wrecker caused the infraction were negated by the telemetry from the car which did not show a sharp impact spike," read a statement from the appeals panel. "[Also] by the fact that the rear template still fit snugly across the entire rear of the car; by a visual inspection of the rear of the car which showed nothing of note in the way of damage; and a visual review of the videotape of post race assistance tendered by the wrecker which appeared as relatively gentle pushing."
Childress will now take the case to National Stock Car Racing Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook, who retired as a General Motors Executive in 2008, following 49 years working for the car manufacturer. This will be the final instance RCR can take the case to.
Following his points penalty, Bowyer went from second to last in the Sprint Cup series playoff, plus last weekend at Dover the RCR driver finished down in 25th place, dropping further away from title contention, as he now sits 235 points off from Chase leader Denny Hamlin.