Team owner Richard Childress says his team will appeal against NASCAR's ruling on the legality of Clint Bowyer's car, claiming it was built to the rules specification.
Bowyer and his team were heavily penalized with points deductions, suspensions and a fine after officials deemed that their winning car from Loudon's New Hampshire Motor Speedway was not within the tolerances set by the NASCAR rulebook regarding the position of the bodywork in reference to the chassis on the rear end.
The Richard Childress Racing driver took victory in the Chase opener after leading the most laps, but he gambled on fuel strategy in the closing stages and eventually saved enough fuel to make it to the end, while rivals Tony Stewart and Jeff Burton failed to do so despite running on the same sequence.
Bowyer actually ran out of fuel following a celebratory burnout and had to be towed to Victory Lane by a service truck that pushed the No. 33 Chevrolet from the rear bumper. According to Childress, this and the car being hit by others on the cool-down lap, may be the reason for it ending up failing a detailed inspection undertaken by NASCAR this week at its Research and Development Center.
Childress says his team will go the final instances if needed in order to prove that it did not build the car outside NASCAR's box, following a warning received the previous week regarding the machine Bowyer raced at Richmond. This Chevy was found to be close to being outside the mandated tolerances on the same area where the Loudon car was ruled illegal.
"RCR has a long-standing reputation of integrity on and off the racetrack," said Childress in a statement. "We pride ourselves on working within the rules established by the sanctioning body.
"NASCAR informed us after the Richmond race that we were very close to their maximum tolerances. They also told us they were going to take our New Hampshire car to the NASCAR Technical Center after that race.
"It doesn't make any sense at all that we would send a car to New Hampshire that wasn't within NASCAR's tolerances. I am confident we fixed the area of concern and the New Hampshire car left the race shop well within the tolerances required by NASCAR.
"We feel certain that the cause of the car being out of tolerance by sixty thousandths of an inch, less than 1/16 of an inch, happened as a result of the wrecker hitting the rear bumper when it pushed the car into winner's circle.
"The rear bumper was also hit on the cool down lap by other drivers congratulating Clint on his victory. That's the only logical way that the left rear of the car was found to be high at the tech center. We will appeal NASCAR's ruling and take it all the way to the NASCAR commissioner for a final ruling, if need be."
Childress' appeal would mean six-race suspensions handed to Bowyer's crew chief Shane Wilson and car chief Chad Haney could be deferred for now as well as a $150,000 fine issued to Wilson. However, NASCAR has clarified that the points penalty remains in place.