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Publication: NASCAR News
Big One leaves Chasers behind

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         NASCAR NEWS - Thursday, October 11, 2007
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NSCRC upholds penalties levied against 99 at Dover
By Official Release

On Oct. 9, 2007, the National Stock Car Racing Commission 
heard and considered the appeal of Roush Fenway Racing 
regarding the No. 99 car. The appeal concerned three 
penalties issued by NASCAR following post-race inspection 
on Sept. 23, 2007 for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series event 
at Dover International Speedway. 

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 20-12.8.1.C of 
the NASCAR COT Technical Bulletin #3 dated 4/10/07: 
"Failed to meet the minimum rear car heights." 

The penalties assessed were:

- Loss of 25 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Championship Car 
  Owner Points for car owner Roush Fenway Racing. 

- Loss of 25 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Championship Driver 
  Points for driver Carl Edwards. 

- $25,000.00 fine and probation until Dec. 31, 2007 for 
  crew chief Robert Osborne. 

The Appellants argued that the infraction was due to the 
failure of a clamp on a jack bolt and that the resulting 
low rear car height was a performance disadvantage. They 
further argued that penalties imposed during the Chase 
for the NASCAR Nextel Cup should be assessed differently 
than during other portions of the season, and differently 
for Chase contenders than for other competitors. 

In deciding the Appeal, the Commission considered several 
factors: 

- There was no indication that the infraction was 
  intentional.

- The car failed to meet post-race height requirements. 
  Whether this constituted an advantage, disadvantage or 
  otherwise does not alter the fact that the car failed to 
  meet the rules. 

- All eligible competitors in each NASCAR Nextel Cup Series 
  championship race are awarded championship points per the 
  NASCAR Rule Book. Accordingly, point penalties should 
  continue to be assessed irrespective of a given 
  competitor's overall standing in the championship points, 
  or in which championship race an infraction occurs. 

- The penalties imposed are consistent with those for other 
  recent car height violations.

Therefore it is the unanimous decision of the National 
Stock Car Racing Commission to uphold the original 
penalties assessed by NASCAR. The Appellants have the 
right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this 
decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner. 

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Big One leaves Chasers behind, Labonte confused
By Mark Aumann, NASCAR.COM

TALLADEGA, Ala. - After the Big One in Sunday's UAW-Ford 
500 at Talladega Superspeedway, everybody knew who caused 
it, but nobody -- not even Bobby Labonte -- knew why it 
happened. 

Labonte suddenly lost control in Turn 4 on Lap 144, 
triggering an 11-car pileup -- one that included Chase 
drivers Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth. Labonte, who was 
running in the top five at the time, spun and clipped 
Busch, as many of the lead draft cars had nowhere to go. 

When the smoke cleared, the cars of Labonte, Busch, Jamie 
McMurray, Paul Menard and Brian Vickers were deemed too 
damaged to continue. David Ragan was able to complete two 
more laps before calling it a day, while Kenseth and Robby 
Gordon returned to the track many laps down. 

Dave Blaney and Denny Hamlin, who suffered minimal damage, 
were able to rebound for top-five finishes. 

continued below... 

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The accident appeared at first glance to be the result of 
a cut tire, but Labonte said that wasn't the case. 

"Well, it surprised me, that's for sure," Labonte said. "I 
looked at the right-rear tire and it was up, and the left-
rear tire was up, so I'm not really sure what happened. 

"You don't find a problem like that and all of a sudden, I 
just went into the corner and all of the sudden, the rear 
end goes out from under it. It's my fault, I know, but I 
don't know what happened." 

Busch has now finished 32nd or worse in five of his six 
Talladega starts, having been sidelined by a crash on three 
occasions. His No. 5 limped back to the garage area with 
heavy damage. 

"[Labonte] came right across the racetrack and we were the 
first one that hit him," Busch said. "It's a shame, not 
only for us but all the other guys involved in the wreck. 

"It's unfortunate for our Chase chances but we knew that 
Talladega was going to be our mulligan. We knew this was 
the one we were going to wreck in because every time we 
come here, it seems if there's a wreck, we're right in 
the middle of it." 

Busch's 36th-place finish left him in eighth place in the 
points, 260 behind Jeff Gordon -- and with little hope for 
a comeback in the last six races. 

"The team wants to be optimistic and they want me to be 
optimistic, but sorry, it's the realism that sets in," 
Busch said. "You're so far back that it's going to take 
a lot to get back in this deal and you've got great 
racers like Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson and Tony 
Stewart who are up front." 

continued below... 

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Kenseth, who wound up 26th -- and trails Gordon by 313 
points -- tried to use a strategy similar to Gordon's, 
but ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

"We rode around for about 350-400 miles and then sooner 
or later you've got to go race and try to get a partner 
up there and see how your car is gonna handle," Kenseth 
said. "When we decided to go up there, we got up to the 
third or fourth row on the inside and then the leader 
wrecked. When the leader wrecks, there's not a whole lot 
you can do to miss it." 

McMurray had a feeling there would be a multi-car accident. 
However, he was hoping to witness it from a different 
viewpoint. He climbed from his battered No. 26 and was 
credited with a 37th-place finish. 

"We talked about it and we felt like there was gonna be a 
big wreck because of the way the cars draft and everything,"
McMurray said. "It doesn't really matter what happens for 
the first 450 miles because you're just kind of riding 
around. 

"With 50 laps to go we all decided that we'd go up and 
try to race. Once the 15 cars that had been riding around 
all day elected to go race, it put a lot larger group up 
there. I was just kind of waiting on it to happen." 

No one was more disappointed -- and confused -- than 
Labonte, who might have had a car capable of a top-five 
finish. 

"That's what's so weird," Labonte said. "With the grip 
level and the way the cars are, you don't have [a loose 
condition]. For some reason or another, it just took off." 

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END OF NASCAR NEWS
Copyright 2007 by NextEra Media. All rights reserved.

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