Panel upholds suspensions for No. 27 Childress team

Paul Menard pits the #27 Menards/Pittsburgh Paints Chevrolet during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 19, 2012 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Paul Menard pits the #27 Menards/Pittsburgh Paints Chevrolet during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 19, 2012 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel upheld six-week suspensions Monday for two members of the No. 27 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Paul Menard drove the car to a ninth-place finish at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 19, but his car was found with illegally altered frame rails in a post-race inspection two days later at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., two days later.

On Aug. 22, NASCAR issued stiff penalties, including the loss of 25 driver points for Menard and 25 team-owner points for Childress. Crew chief Richard “Slugger” Labbe was suspended six weeks and fined $100,000 while car chief Craig Smokstad and engineer Grant Hutchens also drew six-week bans.

On Sept. 5, the Childress team announced it would not appeal the points penalties or Labbe’s fine and suspension. Barring a final appeal to the National Stock Car Racing Chief Appellate Officer, the suspensions of Smokstad and Hutchens are effective immediately.

All three crew members remain on probation until Dec. 31. Menard’s long-shot hopes of qualifying as a wild card for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs were extinguished after a 23rd-place finish last Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.