NASCAR announced penalties for Travis Kvapil and the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports team Wednesday for infractions at Pocono. Those penalties included the loss of 150 driver points to Kvapil, 150 owner points to the No. 38 car and a $100,000 fine, and 12-race suspension to crew chief Steven Lane.
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The valve stem caps from the 38 car were confiscated at Pocono after they apparently were designed to leak air over the course of a green flag run, keeping the air pressure in the tires low and speeds up.
In addition to Lane, car chief Richard Bourgeois and tire specialist Michael Harrold were suspended for 12 races.
While Kvapil may or may not have known about the infractions at Pocono, it's certainly plausible that he's just a victim of circumstance in this whole ordeal. In their — successful, until now — attempts to keep all three cars in the top 35 in owner points, Front Row has shuffled its driver lineup of Kvapil, David Gilliland and Kevin Conway. Conway, who has consistently been the slowest driver in the Cup Series all year, is the only fully funded driver on the team and so the changes have been made in order to keep the ExtenZe car in the field.
After Daytona, the No. 34 was originally Kvapil's car, while Conway was with the No. 37 and Gilliland was with the No. 38. When the No. 37 fell out of the top 35 in owner points, the game of driver musical chairs began to keep Conway locked in the field, as all three drivers have spent time in all three cars this season. (Taco Bell, A&W and Long John Silver's sponsor the cars when they're driven by Gilliland or Kvapil, but Front Row doesn't receive much, if any money from the restaurants. They're on the cars because FRM owner Bob Jenkins is a franchiser.)
FRM has announced that it will appeal the penalties, but if the appeal fails, the penalty knocks the No. 38 car out of the top 35 in owner points and puts Robby Gordon back in. The No. 38 was just 84 points ahead of Gordon — who was 36th in the owner's standings — after Pocono, and if the penalties stand, the car will be 71 points out of a guaranteed starting position.