Robby Gordon penalties overturned UPDATE
Robby Gordon's reaction: The following is a statement from Robby Gordon regarding Wednesday's decision by the National Stock Car Racing Commission restoring his 100 owner and driver points as well as reversing the six-week suspension of crew chief Frank Kerr. The commission did increase the fine from $100,000 to $150,000. Gordon is now 21st in driver points.
Robby Gordon: "We see this as good news. We are grateful the commissioners rescinded the points penalty and suspension but disappointed by the fine. Still, we see this as a victory for Robby Gordon Motorsports. We feel like justice was done and appreciate NASCAR creating a system that allowed us to take our appeal to the National Stock Car Racing Commission. Now we plan to put this issue behind us and concentrate on making the "Chase" in 2008 as well as getting the Jim Beam Dodge into victory lane. I want to thank the thousands of fans and our sponsors who have supported us through this episode and want everyone of you to know how much we appreciate all that you have done. Our goal is to be a model team in the future and never go through something like this again."
03/05/08 The National Stock Car Racing Commission on Wednesday heard and considered the appeal of Robby Gordon Motorsports regarding the No. 7 car. The appeal concerned three penalties issued by NASCAR following opening day inspection on Feb. 8 for the Sprint Cup Series event at Daytona.
The infractions concerned Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book "Actions detrimental to stock car racing"; Section 12-4-Q "Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components, and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules" and Section 20-3.1-A: "Unapproved front bumper cover."
The penalties assessed were:
• Loss of 100 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Car Owner Points for car owner Robby Gordon.
• Loss of 100 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Driver Points for driver Robby Gordon.
• $100,000.00 fine; suspension from NASCAR for the next six (6) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Events; suspension from NASCAR until April 9, and probation until Dec. 31 for crew chief, Frank Kerr.
The Appellants argued that the bumper cover was installed as delivered from the manufacturer, that it did not provide a competition advantage since it was discovered prior to being allowed on the racetrack, and that the bumper met the templates. The Appellants also argued against the severity of the penalties.
In deliberating, the Commission considered several factors. The bumper cover constituted an obvious rules infraction and the Appellants did not contest the legality of the part.
The Commission notes and reaffirms the following fundamental principal which is vital to maintaining the integrity of the sport: Regardless of the source of an unapproved part on a racecar, the race team that officially enters the car in a NASCAR race is ultimately accountable for that racecar's conformance, or non-conformance, to the rules.
NASCAR issued penalties and fines to the No. 7 team as a result of rule infractions found during Speedweeks at Daytona.
However, the Commission believes that the facts presented during the hearing represented an extraordinary and unusual set of circumstances. While this does not excuse the infraction, the National Stock Car Racing Commission has decided to reinstate the car owner and driver championship points, lift the suspension, and increase the fine.
The restoration of the points moves Gordon to 21st from 37th in the standings, lifting him well above the all-important top-35 mark needed to guarantee a spot in the field each week.
For the crew chief, Frank Kerr, the penalty is increased to $150,000 and he remains on probation through Dec. 31.
The Appellants have the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner.
"We see this as good news," Gordon said in a statement Wednesday night. "We are grateful the commissioners rescinded the points penalty and suspension but disappointed by the fine. Still, we see this as a victory for Robby Gordon Motorsports. We feel like justice was done and appreciate NASCAR creating a system that allowed us to take our appeal to the National Stock Car Racing Commission.
"Now we plan to put this issue behind us and concentrate on making the Chase in 2008 as well as getting the Jim Beam Dodge into Victory Lane. I want to thank the thousands of fans and our sponsors who have supported us through this episode and want everyone of you to know how much we appreciate all that you have done.