Winners: 2011 NASCAR Champions

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Austin Dillon
NASCAR Nationwide Series: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Tony Stewart

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

No. 99 team declines appeal

Roush-Fenway Racing announced Wednesday that it would not appeal the penalties levied against Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Fusion team following Edwards' win in the UAW-Dodge 400 at Las Vegas.

After the race, inspectors found the cover of the oil tank reservoir was off, thus giving Edwards an unfair aerodynamic advantage. Edwards kept his win, but he and owner Jack Roush each lost 100 points. Edwards also lost the 10 bonus points for the win should he qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, and crew chief Bob Osbourne was fined $100,000 and suspended for six races.

Though Roush maintains the infraction wasn't intentional, the company declined to appeal the punishment, because as Roush-Fenway president Geoff Smith said in a statement, "We realize in the NASCAR system of penalty administration that simple negligence, by itself, is never sufficient grounds to overturn or reduce a penalty. Consequently, no appeal will be made of the penalties assessed by NASCAR."

While Smith is correct that NASCAR doesn't look at intent -- generally speaking, "I didn't know!" or "We didn't mean to!" doesn't fly with NASCAR or the appeals committee -- it is worth nothing that Rusty Wallace's Nationwide Series team won its appeal after a similar infraction at Daytona. And Robby Gordon won his appeal after it was discovered Dodge sent him an unapproved nose before the Daytona 500.

So there was a chance.

The question I think bears asking, though, is if Edwards hadn't run so well at Atlanta -- the car to beat along with Kyle Busch before his engine gave out -- would Roush-Fenway still decline an appeal? Robbie Reiser, Matt Kenseth's championship-winning crew chief, came out of the general manager's office to help Edwards, and I can't help but wonder if the team would be appealing had the No. 99 team not been so strong this past weekend.

When Edwards struggled in the past, it was largely because he was without Osbourne. Those two have a chemistry that's hard to mess with, but Reiser found a way to do it. I think since Edwards ran so well in Atlanta, the team decided to ride out the remaining five races with Reiser and let Osbourne return after the April 27 race at Talladega.

Amazing how running well seems to fix so many ills.

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