DEI statement on penalty

UPDATE Following NASCAR’s announcement that it has fined the Dale Earnhardt Inc. No. 1 car 150 car owner points, 150 driver points and issued a $100,000 fine for crew chief Kevin Manion, as well as a six-race suspension for Manion and car chief Gary Putnam, Dale Earnhardt Inc. vice president of motorsports operations John Story issued the following statement:

“We are still trying to understand how the car fit our templates multiple times at the shop, but we respect NASCAR’s determination that one of our cars did not exactly conform to their template at the track. We have not decided if we will pursue our options to appeal. Under NASCAR’s rules, we have 10 days to notify the sanctioning body of any appeal."

07/08/08 NASCAR has docked Dale Earnhardt Inc. driver Martin Truex Jr. 150 points and suspended crew chief Kevin Manion and car chief Gary Putnam for six races apiece for presenting a car that did not meet NASCAR’s roof template for inspection last week at Daytona International Speedway.

The point penalty may be a crushing blow to Truex’s hopes of making the Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup for a second consecutive year. Before the penalty, Truex was 14th in the standings, 86 points out of 12th place with eight races remaining until the Chase field is set. Now he is 18th in the standings – falling below David Ragan, Brian Vickers, Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch – and 231 points out of the 12th and final spot in the field to determine the 2008 Cup champion.

The team also was docked 150 owner points, and Manion was fined $100,000. NASCAR confiscated the car from the team at the track.

DEI can appeal the penalty, which could allow Manion and Putnam to work this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. If they begin serving their six-race suspension this weekend, they won’t return until the Aug. 29-31 race weekend at Auto Club Speedway in California.

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