Newman’s No. 31 team penalized for tire manipulation

Daytona Beach, FL ( – NASCAR handed down severe penalties to
Ryan Newman’s No. 31 team in the Sprint Cup Series on Tuesday for altered
tires used in the March 22 race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

Luke Lambert, the crew chief for the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing
Chevrolet, has been suspended for the next six races, fined a total of
$125,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31.

James Bender, the team’s tire technician, and Philip Surgen, the team
engineer, have also been suspended for the next six races and put on probation
for the remainder of the year.

Newman has been penalized with a loss of 75 points in the driver championship
standings, while Richard Childress was docked the same number of points in the
owners’ standings.

“NASCAR takes very seriously its responsibility to govern and regulate the
rules of the sport in order to ensure competitive balance,” NASCAR executive
vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell said in a
statement. “We’ve been very clear that any modifications to race vehicle tires
is an unacceptable practice and will not be tolerated.”

Newman’s loss of points dropped him from sixth to 27th in the point standings.
He finished fifth in the Fontana race.