National Motorsports Appeals Panel rules on No. 33 Fontana infraction

The National Motorsports Appeal Panel heard the case of Circle Sport Racing on Tuesday, with the P4 penalty being reduced to a P2 penalty at the end of the day. 

Jeff Gross

Late Tuesday evening, NASCAR announced the National Motorsports Appeals Panel had heard the appeal of Circle Sport Racing, with the final outcome seeing a reduction in the initial penalties handed out.

The original penalty was handed down to team owner Joseph Falk and crew chief Richard "Slugger" Labbe on March 25, 2015 after the Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway.

The team was initially penalize for three infractions. First, the ¾ inch diameter magnetic steel truck trailing arm mount bolt was not installed horizontally. Second, the truck trailing arm monoball sleeve did not meet the drawing specifications set forth in the NASCAR rule book. Third, the truck trailing arm mounting bracket adapter was manufactured from aluminum as opposed to magnetic steel flat plate.

As a result, the team was hit with a $50,000 fine, Labbe was issued a three-race suspension and probation until December 31, 2015, and Falk was docked 25 owner points.

The appeal was heard Tuesday, with Caraway Speedway owner Russell Hackett, former Sprint Cup driver Lake Speed, and former racer and owner of Chemung (New York) Speedrome John White serving on the appeals panel.

After hearing the testimony of Falk and Labbe, the National Motorsports Appeals Panel decided the team violated the rule pertaining to the aluminum truck trailing arm mounting bracket adapter.

Therefore, the penalty has been reduced from a P4 to a P2 penalty, which means Falk now loses 10 owner points, while Labbe has been fined $20,000. The three-race suspension was upheld and he remains on probation through December 31, 2015. Labbe has already sat out two races as part of his suspension.

The team has the right to appeal the decision of the National Motorsports Appeals Panel to the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer.