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Jeff Gordon's team docked cash, points

Jeff Gordon and his Hendrick Motorsports team are appealing NASCAR's sanctions over an engine part used in his Saturday night victory at Richmond, Va.

Robbie Loomis, crew chief for the No. 24 Chevrolet, was fined $25,000 Tuesday for using a part not approved by NASCAR. The sanctioning body also took away 100 of the 180 points Gordon earned, from the driver standings and from Rick Hendrick in the owner standings.

"It just upsets me because this team worked hard for that win in Richmond, and I believe these allegations that we cheated will undeservedly overshadow that victory," Gordon said.

NASCAR found the irregularity during a post-race inspection Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway.

"The General Motors intake manifold that the No. 24 team used during Saturday night's race in Richmond has not been approved," said Mike Helton, NASCAR's senior vice president and chief operating officer.

Rick Hendrick issued a statement Tuesday saying the team has notified NASCAR that it will appeal the penalty.

Doug Duchardt, GM's group manager for NASCAR, defended the use of the manifold.

"We supplied these magnesium intake manifolds to our teams in the clear belief that they are allowed under the rules," Duchardt said.

ADDING A THIRD: Michael Waltrip will drive for Dale Earnhardt Inc. next season, representing a third car in Earnhardt's garage. A formal announcement is expected today that Waltrip will join Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Steve Park.

NEW DARLINGTON RACES: Darlington Raceway, NASCAR's oldest track, will add a race weekend featuring the Craftsman Truck series and the Goody's Dash Series on May 11 and 12.

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