Junior hit with 100-point penalty

Junior hit with 100-point penalty

Team loses 100 points, $100K; Eury suspended

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and DEI will pay a steep price for failing inspection Saturday prior to the Dodge Avenger 500.

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NASCAR laid down a sizeable punishment of 100 points in the standings, $100,000 and a six-week suspension for crew chief Tony Eury Jr. for having the wing on the back of the car mounted improperly on the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet during pre-race inspection at Darlington.

"We don't have a problem with the ruling because it's clearly stated in the rulebook," said DEI VP of competition Richie Gilmore. "But we have a problem with the severity of the penalty."

Gilmore said the team will appeal the penalty to NASCAR on Monday.

After a little research, Eury said he discovered that the unapproved brackets were previously used during a wind-tunnel test and had not been replaced before the car came to the track. Eury said with the wing lowered to 18-degrees, the car's downforce was 20 counts less than had it been mounted to specifications.

"They did us a favor by putting on the other brackets," said Eury, who mailed the wind-tunnel report to Nextel Cup Series director John Darby. "But I understand I don't have the blue-printed bracket on the car. I made an honest mistake and accept whatever (NASCAR) decides.

"My boys will kick their (butts) one way or the other."

The Associated Press reported Eury will only be suspended from races, so he'll be available for Saturday's all-star race. AP also said if Eury is suspended his duties will likely be handled by car chief Tony Gibson.

Eury is taking a brand new car to Lowe's Motor Speedway for the Nextel All-Star Challenge that "looks like a Late Model built to last 80 laps and get out" without all the bells and whistles or even air conditioning. The team will return for the Coca-Cola 600 with chassis 39, a favorite of Earnhardt's.

Earnhardt jumped into the top 12 with an eighth-place finish at Darlington, but the 100-point deduction slides him down to 14th in the standings. The top 12 at the end of 26 races qualify for the Chase.

This is the second time NASCAR has handed out penalties of 100 points and $100,000. Michael Waltrip Racing received the same punishment after failing inspection at Daytona in February, but that was accompanied by indefinite suspensions to crew chief David Hyder and VP of competition Bobby Kennedy.

In the classic tradition of covering your buddy's back, Earnhardt has offered to pay the fine for his cousin Eury if necessary.

"Yeah, but I might have to borrow his plane so I can go to Maui for two weeks," Eury chuckled.

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