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Archive for Thursday, August 21, 2008

NASCAR penalizes Gibbs Racing

Seven crew members suspended; Stewart docked

August 21, 2008

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— NASCAR suspended seven crew members of Joe Gibbs Racing and stripped drivers Tony Stewart and Joey Logano of 150 points each Wednesday for cheating after last weekend's Nationwide Series race.

Crew chiefs Jason Ratcliff and Dave Rogers were suspended indefinitely and fined $50,000 each, but NASCAR decided not to bar the cars from future races.

Owner Joe Gibbs said he would not appeal the penalties. He indicated he also would personally fine the crew members involved and suspend them through the end of the season.

"We want to apologize to NASCAR, all of our partners, all of our families at JGR, and all of our fans for the unfortunate incident that took place this past weekend in Michigan with our two Nationwide teams," Gibbs said in a statement. "A poor decision was made by some key members of our organization, and 100 percent of the blame rests with us."

No. 18 car chief Dorian Thorsen, engine tuner Michael Johnson and crew member Toby Bigelow and No. 20 car chief Richard Bray and engine tuner Dan Bajek also received indefinite suspensions. JGR was docked 150 owner points for each car, and the teams were placed on probation for the rest of the season.

After Stewart finished third in Saturday's race at Michigan International Speedway in the No. 20 car and Logano was seventh in the No. 18, inspectors found magnets under the gas pedals of both cars when they were sent to the chassis dyno for examination. NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said the teams were attempting to mask the cars' true horsepower.

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