NASCAR has issued penalties to the No. 00, No. 47 and No. 56 teams that compete in the Sprint Cup Series as a result of rule infractions discovered during opening day inspection Oct. 21 at Talladega Superspeedway.
All three cars were found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20 of the rule book, or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the event); and 20-3.2.1A (unapproved modification to an approved windshield) of the 2011 NASCAR rule book.
Crew chiefs Rodney Childers (No. 00), Frank Kerr (No. 47) and Chad Johnston (No. 56) have each been fined $50,000 and have been suspended from the next four Sprint Cup Series championship events and suspended from NASCAR until Nov. 23. Car chiefs Steve Channing (No. 00), Raymond Fox (No. 47) and Anthony Lunders (No. 56) have likewise been suspended from the next four Sprint Cup Series championship events and suspended from NASCAR until Nov. 23. Additionally, Bobby Kennedy, executive vice president of race operations for Michael Waltrip Racing, has been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.
Car owners Rob Kauffman (No. 00), Tad Geschickter (No. 47), and Michael Waltrip (No. 56) have each been penalized with the loss of 25 championship owner points. Drivers David Reutimann (No. 00), Bobby Labonte (No. 47), and Martin Truex Jr. (No. 56) have each been penalized with the loss of 25 championship driver points.
MWR sent out a statement following the announcement of the penalties: "Michael Waltrip Racing is ultra-sensitive and very serious about working within the guidelines of NASCAR policy. We do not condone this type of activity and as such we will take appropriate internal corrective action immediately. We thank NASCAR for providing a fair and equitable platform for all of its competitors and respect its decisions; therefore, we will not appeal."
MWR also announced its shuffling of team personnel to cover for those who are suspended.
Pat Tryson will serve as interim crew chief for Truex at Martinsville, and race mechanic Allen Mincey will be the interim car chief. For Reutimann's team, Kennedy will serve as interim crew chief, and race mechanic Chris Hall will serve as car chief on an interim basis. MWR said both car and crew chiefs will return to their positions following their suspensions.
JTG Daugherty also released a statement: "We are very disappointed in this entire situation and we will not appeal NASCAR's ruling," team co-owner Brad Daugherty said. "We look forward to racing at Martinsville Speedway this weekend and getting ready for next season."
The team announced chief race engineer Brian Burns will assume the role as crew chief and Bob Bechstein has been named car chief.