On June 22, 2010, the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel heard and considered the appeal of Front Row Motorsports regarding the #38 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car. The appeal concerned two penalties issued by NASCAR stemming from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway on June 6, 2010.
The penalties concern Section 12-1 of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing”; Section 12-4-J: “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the Race Equipment used in the Event does not conform to NASCAR Rules”; and Section 20-10.7J: “Unapproved modification to valve stem hardware.”
Originally, a total of 5 penalties were assessed for the infractions, including a deduction of 150 NSCS owner points for Doug Yates; a deduction of 150 NSCS driver points for Travis Kvapil; and a $100,000 fine, 12-race suspension, and probation for crew chief Steven Lane.
Subsequently, those 3 penalties were withdrawn from the appeal, and the crew chief has begun serving his suspension.
The two remaining penalties were appealed:
- suspension from the next 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing events; suspension from NASCAR until Sept 15, 2010, and probation until December 31, 2010 for crew member, Richard Bourgeois (car chief)
- suspension from the next 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing events; suspension from NASCAR until Sept 15, 2010, and probation until December 31, 2010 for crew member, Michael Harrold (tire specialist)
The Appellants requested and were granted a deferral of these suspensions until such time as the hearing could be convened.
The Appellants and team representative argued that, unbeknownst to the team management or the Appellants, valve stem caps designed to bleed air were developed by rogue elements of the team; that for some reason this hardware was mistakenly brought to the Pocono event on the team hauler; and that the caps were then accidentally placed on the race car just prior to the start of the race.
A small hole had been drilled in the top of each of the valve stem caps in question, and a foam material had been added to the interior of each cap. These valve stem caps were located on the left front and both rear tires of the race car upon discovery.
The Panel did not find the Appellants explanation to be plausible. The Panel found the penalties to be correct for the nature of the infraction.
Therefore, it is the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel to uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR.
The periods of suspension shall be adjusted from the date of the hearing.
The Appellants have the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock
Car Racing Chief Appellate Officer.
George Silbermann - Appellate Administrator and non-voting member