CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Clint Bowyer's NASCAR championship chances were crippled Wednesday when his car failed a followup inspection and he was penalized 150 points after winning Sunday's first race of Sprint Cup's Chase for the Championship.
"We led the most laps and won the race," said Bowyer, when reached at sponsor's appearance. "The guys work hard in the shop to bring a fair, fast race. Aside from that, I don't know what's going on."
NASCAR fined crew chief Shane Wilson $150,000 and suspended him for six races. Car chief Chad Haney was also suspended for six races, and team owner Richard Childress was docked 150 owner points. The team plans to appeal. Bowyer was permitted to keep the win at New Hampshire. NASCAR does not typically strip wins.
The win vaulted Bowyer from 12th to second in the Chase point standings. The penalty drops him back to last in the 12-driver Chase, 185 points behind leader Denny Hamlin.
NASCAR said the No. 33 Chevrolet from the race had been altered. Neither Pemberton nor Sprint Cup director John Darby gave specifics, citing the team's right to appeal the penalty. Darby did say the issue revolved around how the team had set up the car's body.
Childress said in a statement that the car was out of tolerance "less than 1/16 of an inch" and the team is certain that happened as a result of the wrecker hitting the rear bumper when it pushed the car into winner's circle.
Bowyer's car passed its initial inspection Sunday. NASCAR took it back to its North Carolina research and development center for a thorough exam.
Formula One: Former Renault team principal Flavio Briatore said he has no interest in returning to the series once his ban ends in 2013. He was banned for orchestrating a deliberate crash by Nelson Piquet Jr. at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix so teammate Alonso could win.