NASCAR Upholds Gordon Ruling
September 29, 2000 | 12:00 A.M. EST
On Thursday, Hendrick Motorsports officials appealed the $25,000 fine against crew chief Robbie Loomis and the 100 championship-points deductions from car owner Rick Hendrick and driver Jeff Gordon, but NASCAR announced on Friday the penalties would stand.
"I really didn't expect anything to happen," Gordon said Friday. "There hasn't been one (appeal) that's been overturned yet. It's one of those situations where the decision has been made and we just have to move on and not let it affect us."
The penalties were handed out to the Hendrick team following what NASCAR said were rules violations found during post-race inspections after the team’s victory in the Chevy Monte Carlo 400 on Sept. 9 at Richmond International Raceway.
NASCAR said the team used a part – a GM intake manifold – that had not been approved by the organizing body.
Mike Helton, NASCAR’s senior vice president, said, "The GM part number on the casting was the same, however, a different material was used that altered the properties of the casting."
Hendrick has claimed all along that if NASCAR would give his No. 24 team a full hearing on the facts, that it would "exonerate the team from any intentional wrongdoing and remove any cloud of suspicion cast over a great victory.
"We are disappointed in the decision concerning our appeal," Hendrick said. "We felt we presented a strong case that NASCAR clearly indicated to us and other GM teams that there was no issue with the use of magnesium in intake manifolds. Unfortunately, the NASCAR rulebook is very vague concerning what constitutes an approval, and we feel that there needs to be some clarification of this to prevent these types of situations from occurring in the future.
"As we’ve said before, use of the part is question did not give us a competitive advantage and in no way detract from the team’s victory at Richmond."
Hendrick and Loomis were at the appeal on Thursday, and NASCAR released this statement on Friday -
In the hearing, the Appellants correctly noted that the NASCAR Rule Book does not specifically denote the material of the intake manifold, however, all witnesses in the hearing acknowledged that the approved intake manifold, as listed in the NASCAR Rule Book, is aluminum. Sections 20 and 20-5 of the (rulebook) require that all changes to engine components must be submitted to NASCAR headquarters and approved by NASCAR prior to being used in competition. The change from aluminum to magnesium was not formally submitted to NASCAR Headquarters and was not approved by NASCAR.
"I think if you ask anybody, it did not enhance the performance in any way," Gordon said. "It’s one of those technicality deals if we missed something. It’s just one of those things where we felt like we were in the right, and they’re (NASCAR) telling us we’re not. I’d appeal again if we had to.