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NASCAR: No. 38 Cup Series team penalized for infractions

Travis Kvapil #34

As expected, NASCAR threw the book at Front Row Motorsports, after its No. 38 Ford Fusion was found to have unapproved valve-stem hardware at Pocono Raceway last Sunday.

At Pocono, the No. 38 Front Row entry was driven by Travis Kvapil. The team has rotated drivers among its three cars for much of the season in an attempt to keep all three in the top 35 in NASCAR Sprint Cup owner points.

The team was 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); and 20-10.7J (unapproved modification to valve stem hardware) of the 2010 NASCAR Rule Book.

Crew chief Steve Lane was fined $100,000, suspended for the next 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup events, suspended from NASCAR until Sept. 15 and placed on probation until Dec. 31. Car chief Richard Bourgeois and tire specialist Michael Harrold have also been suspended from the next 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup events, suspended from NASCAR until Sept. 15 and placed on probation until Dec. 31.

Driver Travis Kvapil and car owner Doug Yates were penalized with the loss of 150 driver and 150 owner points, respectively.

The loss of 150 owner points is potentially a very serious blow to the team, as the No. 38 will fall from 32nd in owner points to 36th, meaning the car will not be guaranteed a starting spot this weekend at Michigan International Speedway and instead will have to make the race on speed. Kvapil is again listed as the driver of the No. 38 at MIS.

On a NASCAR Sprint Cup car air pressure on a new set of tires increases as the car gets further into a race run. If valve stems could be manipulated to gradually release a small amount of air out of the tires, in theory the tires could maintain more consistent pressure over the length of a run.

Front Row Motorsports team owner Bob Jenkins said he will appeal the penalty.

“We take the rules of this sport very seriously, and we support NASCAR in its enforcement of those rules,” said Jenkins. “It was not our intent to put unapproved valve stem caps on our car at Pocono, a track where such a maneuver would clearly not provide any advantage. We are conducting our own internal investigation to determine how those parts got into our inventory and onto our car last weekend.

“While we recognize we have to pay for our mistake, this was an unintentional, isolated incident. We plan to immediately submit an appeal through NASCAR’s formal appeal process as outlined by the NASCAR rule book.”

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