NASCAR has announced penalties, suspensions and fines to the No. 83 Red Bull Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team, as a result of rules infractions found yesterday during a post-race technical inspection at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C.
The car was found with exterior sheet metal body parts that did not meet the minimum thickness specified in the 2008 NASCAR rulebook. As a result, crewchief Kevin Hamlin and carchief Craig Smokstad, have been suspended indefinitely from NASCAR. Hamlin has been fined $100,000. Driver Brian Vickers and owner Dietrich Mateschitz have been docked 150 driver and 150 owner points, respectively.
Vickers’ car was selected at random for inspection following Sunday’s TUMS Quik Pack 500 at Martinsville Speedway, and officials found doors, fenders and quarterpanels that were thinner than the 24-gauge steel mandated by NASCAR. That is in violation of NASCAR’s strict rules governing body specifications for the new Car Of Tomorrow, in addition to raising safety concerns.
Red Bull Vice President and General Manager Jay Frye said of the ruling, "As a team, we accept full responsibility for the infractions…and will not appeal NASCAR's ruling. This approach to racing is against the values of the Red Bull Racing Team, and the necessary steps will be taken to rectify the situation, ensuring it does not happen again. It is a privilege to race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and we are taking this penalty seriously.” Frye said that R&D Manager Randy Cox will serve as interim Crew Chief for Vickers at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend.