Haas-CNC Racing penalized for LMS violations
NASCAR handed down its most severe penalties yet concerning alterations to its new car Wednesday, when the crew chiefs and car chiefs for Scott Riggs and Johnny Sauter were suspended six races apiece for tampering with the rear wings on their Chevrolets last weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway.Additionally, crew chiefs Bootie Barker and Dave Skog were fined $100,000 each. Derick Jennings and Thomas Harris, the car chiefs, were not fined but their suspensions are unprecedented. All four must sit out until the July 12 race in Chicago, and are on probation through the end of the year.Riggs and Sauter were each docked 150 driver points, penalties that severely hurt the struggling teams. The cars are both fielded by Haas-CNC Motorsports, which was docked 150 owner points for each Chevrolet. Haas general manager Joe Custer is listed as the owner for Riggs' No. 66, and Margaret Haas is listed as the owner of Sauter's No. 77.The points deduction is the second largest in NASCAR history, only behind the 151 points Jeremy Mayfield and his team were docked for using an illegal fuel additive at Talladega in 2000.Gene Haas, who actually owns the fledgling two-car team, began serving a two-year prison sentence for tax evasion in January. The team is widely believed to be for sale, and two-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart has acknowledged he's received an offer to buy the organization.Previous penalties had resulted in crew chief suspensions, $100,000 fines and the loss of 100 points. The Haas penalties are the biggest in terms of points deductions and the inclusion of the car chief suspensions.Darby delivered the news to Haas competition director Matt Borland, Barker and Skog in a 10-minute talk behind the garage after testing was finished at Pocono. Borland declined to discuss the penalties, or reveal if the team plans to appeal."Typically when you go through some penalties and there's a rules infraction, you always ask yourself `Why?' " Darby said. "Why should we have to deal with that? It's obviously not good for Haas Racing, it's not good for NASCAR, it's not good for our sport."___AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston contributed to this report from Long Pond, Pa.