NASCAR Goes Long On Fine

Jim Long, crew chief for Terry Labonte’s Hendrick Motorsports team, was fined $20,000 and placed on probation after NASCAR found a fuel-cell violation in pre-race inspection for the Sirius Satellite Radio 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday.

The fuel cell on Labonte’s car was illegal, NASCAR said, because the team tried “to increase the capacity of the fuel cell through pressure.” Winston Cup fuel cells are limited to 22 gallons, and Michigan has been known as a track where fuel mileage is critical.

Labonte finished three laps down in 31st Sunday after using a provisional to start 37th.

Long was placed on probation until Dec. 31. He was penalized under Section 12-4-Q of the Winston Cup rule book: “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules: Fuel Cell.”

Labonte is 19th in the Winston Cup points standings, four spots higher than where he finished in 2001. Long joined the team in the offseason.

Staff Writer Lee Montgomery can be reached at

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, 2002

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