By AMANDA VINCENT
The National Motorsports Appeals Panel heard Michael Waltrip Racing’s appeal of the P4 penalty its No. 15 Toyota NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team of driver Clint Bowyer received from NASCAR on Sept. 23 because of a rules violation discovered by NASCAR officials at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., during the Sept. 20 race weekend.
The Appeals panel upheld the penalties that include a $75,000 fine and three-race suspension for crew chief Billy Scott and the 25-point deduction for Bowyer and car owner Rob Kauffman.
Scott’s suspension was delayed because of the appeal, so he was atop Bowyer’s pit box Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.
While his team was appealing the penalty, Bowyer was at Stewart-Haas Racing in Kannapolis, N.C., participating in a press conference announcing Tony Stewart’s retirement from driving in the Sprint Cup Series after the 1016 season and Bowyer’s hiring as driver of the No. 14 now driven by Stewart, beginning in 2017.
The appeals panel, consisting of Paul Brooks, Bill Lester and Bill Mullis, released its findings Wednesday afternoon. The written announcement from the panel stated that the No. 15 team violated the rule(s) it was penalized for violating and, therefore, the penalties would be upheld.
MWR has one remaining chance to appeal the penalty, appealing the the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer. The deadline to file for that appeal is 45 p.m. ET Sept. 30.
Sunday’s race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway is the third race of the 2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup, making it an elimination race. After the Dover race, the bottom four drivers in the points standings among those presently in the Chase will be eliminated from Chase contention, if they haven’t won one of the Chase races so far. Bowyer heads into Dover 16th in points, 39 points behind Dale Earnhardt Jr., the driver in 12th, the final transper spot.
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