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.