Steadman Fine Overturned

By a unanimous decision, the National Stock Car Racing Commission Wednesday rescinded a $20,000 penalty issued to Petty Enterprises crew chief Greg Steadman following the March 25 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Steadman, crew chief for John Andretti’s No. 43 Cheerios Dodge, decided to appeal the fine. The commission heard and considered his appeal Wednesday, then reversed its original decision.

In addition to other matters arising from the appeal hearing, the commission considered the issue of non-conformance to rules specifications at the conclusion of a race based on a claim of racing conditions or racing contact.

In most cases, a claim of racing conditions or racing contact is not sufficient to reduce or rescind a penalty in the eyes of the Commission. The Commission notes that non-conformance to specifications at the conclusion of a race may occur by design so as to gain an advantage.

The Commission recognizes and reaffirms that, per Section 8-7 of the Rule Book, NASCAR Officials have the flexibility to exercise discretion in matters pertaining to racing conditions or racing contact and to evaluate each claim on a case-by-case basis.

The commission feels strongly that, unless it can be determined that the non-conformance was directly attributable to racing conditions and to no other plausible explanation, a penalty would have been correct.

However, during the appeal hearing the Appellant made a persuasive argument that the only plausible explanation for the height variance at the conclusion of the race was the cracked chassis welds resulting from the conditions of the race. It is extremely unlikely, the commission found, that a cracked chassis would have occurred by design. Further testimony indicated that the resulting height variance did not provide a significant competitive advantage over other competitors.

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