Appeals panel reduces penalty against Circle Sport Racing

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) An appeals panel has reduced the penalty levied against Circle Sport Racing car owner Joe Falk and crew chief Slugger Labbe.

The three-person National Motorsports Appeals Panel reduced Falk’s penalty from a loss of 25 points to 10, and Labbe’s original $50,000 fine was cut to $20,000. Labbe’s three-race suspension was upheld; the crew chief already has missed two races under the punishment.

The panel’s decision was announced on Tuesday.

The team, which is an affiliate of Richard Childress Racing, was given a P4 penalty for an illegal rear truck trailing arm on Brian Scott’s car at California last month. The panel reduced the penalty to a P2 infraction and said that some of the broken rules initially cited in the penalty ”are subject to interpretation.”

The original penalty said the brackets for the truck trailing arm, a suspension piece, were made of aluminum instead of the required magnetic steel. NASCAR also said the part was not bolted on correctly and the assembly failed to meet other specifications.

But, days after the team was penalized, NASCAR updated its rulebook and its drawing of the truck trailing arm assembly to be more specific.

The panel, which was made up by former driver Lake Speed and short-track promoters Russell Hackett and John White, said the penalty pertaining to position was open to interpretation.

It said the brackets were not magnetic steel, which was still a penalty.