Roush Appeals Rockingham Penalty

HUNTERSVILLE, NC - Roush Racing announced today that Jack Roush and Mark Martin have exercised their right to appeal the 25 point penalty assessed for using an “unapproved” spring at the November 3, 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup event in Rockingham, NC.

Said Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing, “According to NASCAR rules (sec.12-4) penalties for violation of NASCAR rules ‘…are determined by the gravity of the violation and its effects on fairness of competition…’ Since the spring in question had an inconsequential deviation from the rule-specified length, since its use had absolutely no effect on the fairness of competition, and since the penalty imposed was harsher that the intent of its own published standards for the imposition of penalties, we have elected to take advantage of the review process NASCAR has provided to us.”

“We applaud NASCAR both for laying out rules that confirm its interest in insuring that its managers impose penalties only after due regard is given to the fairness the circumstances require, and applaud them even further for providing us with an appeal mechanism that is unprecedented in professional sports. The existence of this rule and the appeal rights granted to us by NASCAR are powerful statements that NASCAR has established and is committed to upholding and maintaining a policy of fairness in connection with the imposition of penalties for the violation of its rules.

“Fairness, however, can only exist when there is equal punishment for equally situated offenders. That is a concept that is a cornerstone of the entire American experience. It is our firm conviction that Roush Racing was not “equally situated” with the two other teams who suffered penalty points reductions in 2002. NASCAR’s examination into the ‘gravity of the violation and its effects on the fairness of competition…’of each of the three situations requires that it evaluate the presence or absence of two very significant facts: (1) Did the examination of the part reveal the offender’s intention to violate a rule? (2) Was the part’s function altered in any way to attempt to improve performance? Both of those factors were conspicuously absent in our case, and both were present in the other two cases. Fairness requires a different penalty result for us.

“We hope that these 25 points have no impact in this year’s championship race, and do not enjoy having this issue present itself at this late date, yet we cannot passively submit to a punishment that is so excessive for the offense. We also recognize that the list of successful appellants can fit on the back of a postage stamp, but we remain hopeful that after a sober review of each of the spring related penalty violations, the Commission will confirm NASCAR’s written commitment to fairness by reinstating our points.” Roush Racing also announced that it will not seek legal recourse against the manufacturer or seller of the spring in question, regardless of the outcome of the appeal.

“There was little question that we have legitimate, meritorious claims, but, ultimately we concluded that Roush Racing can better serve the sport by terminating any contemplation of litigation. In this business, the words “racing” and “litigation” should never appear in the same paragraph if at all possible,” concluded Smith.

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