NASCAR Penalizes Ryan Newman With Just One Race Left Before the Chase

Photo by Jeff Curry/NASCAR via Getty Images

By Summer Bedgood, Managing Editor

As expected, NASCAR handed down penalties to multiple teams on Wednesday, one of which was the No. 31 team of Ryan Newman. Newman, who is already in a precarious position when it comes to making the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup, will have an even tougher challenge ahead of him this weekend in the final regular season race of the season.

NASCAR penalized the team 15 points, leaving Newman 22 markers behind Jamie McMurray, the last driver in the 16-driver Chase field with just one race left to make up the difference. The No. 31 Richard Childress Racing team failed the post-race laser inspection station after an eighth-place run at Darlington Raceway. Crew chief Luke Lambert was also fined $25,000.00.

The team will not appeal the penalty.

The team issued the following statement:

“We do not plan to appeal the penalty issued today to the #31 team. Our rear toe settings were well within specs during pre-race inspection. The car made contact with the outside wall during the race and there was clear damage to the right rear fender and tire. NASCAR has told us that the LIS standard is clear and the car must pass post-race inspection even if damage has been sustained.”

Newman could still clinch a spot in the Chase with a victory this Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway. The 38-year-old driver has one win, six top-fives, and 16 top-10 finishes in 29 career starts at the track. He finished 18th in the spring race at Richmond earlier this season.

Without a win, Newman would need some help on points. He would need McMurray, Austin Dillon, and Chase Elliott to all have uncharacteristically bad days and potentially have Chris Buescher fall out of the top 30 in points. Buescher won at Pocono earlier this season but needs to remain in the top 30 in order to remain Chase eligible. He currently has an 11-point cushion over David Ragan.

“Richmond is one of the best, if not arguably, the best short track we go to just because you fight a little bit of everything,” Newman said in a team advance. “You have two different shaped corners, D-shaped tri-oval. There is a lot of braking and acceleration. Forward drive is usually at a premium. It’s just that typical short track but it’s the right size that fits our race car. It’s a lot of fun.”

Additional penalties from the weekend at Darlington:

  • Kyle Larson’s team also failed post-race measurements at the laser inspection station and lost 15 points as a result. Crew chief Chad Johnston was fined $22,500.00. Larson is already locked into the Chase with his win at Michigan International Speedway earlier this season.
  • Ryan Blaney was fined $1,000.00 for improper driver protective clothing/equipment. During a practice session, Blaney went out on the track without wearing his driver gloves.
  • The teams of Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards were each issued a written warning and will lose 15 minutes of practice time after failing pre-race inspection three times.
  • The teams of Joey Logano, Jeffrey Earnhardt, and Tony Stewart were issued written warnings for failing pre-race inspection. Logano and Earnhardt failed LIS twice while Stewart failed template inspection three times.

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