Childress says they proved innocenceUPDATE #2 NASCAR is disputing allegations by Richard Childress Racing's top witness that the team was prevented from examining Clint Bowyer's Chevrolet in the days following his disputed win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. NASCAR's Managing Director of Corporate Communications Ramsey Poston bristled at those accusations Saturday at Kansas Speedway, calling them "patently untrue." After consulting with Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton and Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby, Poston said, "Dr. Manning never asked to see the car at any time." Poston also revealed that Richard Childress Racing was free to examine the car "anytime they want" and was well aware of that open-door policy. Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway
10/01/10 The reconstruction analyst who testified that Clint Bowyer's New Hampshire Sprint Cup car was knocked out of tolerance by a wrecker labeled NASCAR's arguments against his findings as nonsense. Dr. Charles Manning of Raleigh, N.C.-based Accident Reconstruction Analysis said two tests of a wrecker pushing a car set up the same as Bowyer's winning #33 in the Chase opener showed the left rear end moved upward 40 thousandths of one inch. Testifying Wednesday on behalf of Richard Childress Racing, Manning told the National Stock Car Racing Commission that heard the appeal that his scientific study "clearly" explains the 39,000th of an inch NASCAR told RCR officials the car was beyond tolerances.
"They came out this morning and claimed it was negated by the telemetry which didn't show a very sharp impact," Manning said Thursday. "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." Manning said the only way he can have more exact data than what he collected during the reconstruction at Charlotte Motor Speedway using a duplicate of Bowyer's car and a wrecker similar to the one at New Hampshire is to inspect the car in violation. He said NASCAR has not let him or RCR officials look at the car. "All we get from them is the stuff from behind closed doors," said Manning, whose company helped CMS win its case when a pedestrian bridge collapsed after a race in 2000. "I've been doing this for 45 years. When we go to court I've got photos and measurements. We haven't seen any photos. We haven't seen any measurements." NASCAR officials said they can't release specific data used to defend their case until the final appeal is heard. More at ESPN.com
10/01/10 Richard Childress reiterated his frustration in the NASCAR appeals process after an independent panel denied his bid to have Clint Bowyer's penalty overturned.
Three members of the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel voted unanimously Wednesday to uphold the penalty levied against Bowyer after the car he drove to victory Sept. 19 at New Hampshire failed inspection. The penalty dropped him from second to last in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship standings, and effectively ended his title hopes.
"I am disappointed but not surprised by the decision knowing how the appeal system is structured," Childress said in a statement Thursday. "We proved beyond a reasonable doubt how the car was found to be out of tolerance after the race. Knowing how the system works, I brought a check with me to cover the cost of the appeal hearing and we have already submitted our request to appeal to the chief appellate officer."
Childress paid the fee on the spot and will now go before NASCAR's chief appellate officer, John Middlebrook. The former General Motors executive is NASCAR's version of the Supreme Court, and is expected to hear the appeal next week.
Childress has maintained that Bowyer's car was damaged after the race at New Hampshire by a tow truck that pushed the Chevrolet to Victory Lane because it was out of fuel.
In a hearing that lasted nearly five hours at NASCAR's research and development center, an accident reconstruction expert testified on behalf of the team that the tow truck indeed would have caused damage to the left side of Bowyer's car and it would have factored into the failed inspection.
The panel, however, said the telemetry from the car refuted the claim because it "did not show a sharp impact spike."
The panel also found that Dr. Charles Manning of Accident Reconstruction Analysis in Raleigh actually helped NASCAR's case.
In the decision, signed by John Capels, Lyn St. James, Waddell Wilson and nonvoting member George Silbermann, the panel said Manning argued in the tow truck explanation that the contact bent the left rear frame of the car upward. The panel said Manning testified that the contact would have strictly damaged the left side only because of the matchup between the wrecker pushbar and the angle of the racecar's rear bumper.
"He went on to say that the corresponding right rear measurements should not be affected, in his view, nor the frame member deformed," the panel wrote of Manning's testimony.
NASCAR, however, presented evidence that both the left and right sides of the rear of the car were high and the body was offset on the frame.
That development apparently led the panel to believe the No. 33 team intentionally altered the race car, a claim RCR has dismissed as inconceivable because they had been given advance notice that NASCAR would seize the New Hampshire car for further inspection. The team had been warned a week earlier that its car design was creeping dangerously close to failing inspection.
The panel upheld the 150-point deduction levied against Bowyer, who trails leader Denny Hamlin by 235 points with eight races remaining in the Chase. Also upheld was 150 owner points taken from Childress, a $150,000 fine and six race suspension for crew chief Shane Wilson, and a six-race suspension for car chief Chad Haney.
Wilson and Haney are expected to work this weekend's race at Kansas because their appeals are still ongoing.
Childress vowed not to let his organization be derailed by the penalties. In addition to Bowyer, drivers Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton are also racing for the Sprint Cup title in what's been a season of resurgence for one of NASCAR's top teams.
"We will not let this be a distraction to the primary goal of one of our teams winning the Sprint Cup Series championship," Childress said. "We owe it to our fans and our sponsors to stay focused and bring the championship back to RCR."
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