Panel denies Stewart-Haas Racing penalty appeal

Sports

An appeals panel on Thursday denied the attempt by Stewart-Haas Racing to overturn $200,000 in NASCAR fines for manipulation of a playoff race.

The behavioral penalty was issued to Cole Custer, crew chief Mike Shiplett and team owner Gene Haas after the Oct. 9 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. NASCAR said Custer deliberately slowed on the final lap to hold up traffic and assist teammate Chase Briscoe in gaining positions Briscoe needed to advance in the playoff race.

Custer was fined $100,000 and docked 50 driver points, Haas was docked 50 owner points and Shiplett was suspended indefinitely as well as fined $100,000. SHR had maintained it had data to present to the National Motorsports Appeals panel that would prove Custer did nothing wrong.

NASCAR has maintained that its own data, as well as in-car audio between Custer and his team, showed that Custer’s actions were deliberate.

The three-member appeals panel ruled SHR did violate NASCAR’s rule on race manipulation and upheld all the penalties. It is unclear when Shiplett will be allowed to return.

SHR has one final avenue via an appeal to the the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer.

Custer, who is the son of SHR president Joe Custer, is fighting to keep his seat in the No. 41 Ford for a fourth season. Haas wants Custer back, but said co-owner Tony Stewart would like to put Ryan Preece in the car next year.

Custer has one victory in 108 starts – it came in his 2020 rookie season – but did win an Xfinity Series race this season.

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