Gibbs, Penske penalty appeals head to diverse group
April 30, 2013, David Caraviello, NASCAR.com
The panel that will hear appeals over the next two weeks from Penske Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing is a diverse group, comprised of current and former industry members who have seen motorsports from many vantage points -- from an office, a laboratory, atop a pit box, even behind a windshield.
The National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel consists of 48 voting members from different racing disciplines, three of whom are chosen to hear any given NASCAR appeal. There are former drivers, crew chiefs, and car owners, owners and operators of weekly tracks and major superspeedways, experts in drug testing and toxicology, and even one veteran member of the media. After hearing an appeal, the panel has the power to uphold, rescind, or even augment sanctions levied by NASCAR.
The panel is in for a busy few weeks. On Wednesday, it will hear arguments from Penske Racing regarding the rear-end housings confiscated from the Nos. 2 and 22 cars at Texas, and May 8 it will hear from Joe Gibbs Racing regarding the penalties assessed to that organization for an infraction involving the No. 20 car’s engine at Kansas. Both appeals will be heard at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C.
If a team wishes to appeal a penalty, by rule it must send a written notice and a $500 fee to NASCAR within 10 days of the penalty being issued. If appeals are upheld, teams have the option of making a final plea to the Chief Appellate Officer -- in this case, former General Motors executive John Middlebrook -- who is appointed by NASCAR President Mike Helton and serves for $1 a year. His decisions are final.
The voting members of the Appeals Panel, as listed in the 2013 Sprint Cup Rule Book, can be broken down into several different categories given the wide spectrum of their backgrounds.
Buddy Baker: A 19-time winner on NASCAR’s premier series who competed from 1959 until 1992, then moved into the broadcast booth. Today co-hosts a radio program on SiriusXM.
Janet Guthrie: Pioneering female competitor who was the first woman to drive in both the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500. Made 33 starts in NASCAR’s top series, with a best finish of sixth at Bristol in 1977.
Hurley Haywood: Among the foremost sports-car drivers of his age, was part of five victories in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, three in the 24 Hours of LeMans, and two at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Remains an instructor at Porsche Sport Driving School at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.
Bill Lester: The first African-American driver to compete in a Nationwide Series event, he drove in all three of NASCAR’s national divisions, making two Sprint Cup starts in 2006. The electrical engineering graduate from Cal-Berkeley became the first African-American to win a GRAND-AM event in 2011.
Robert Pressley: Made 205 starts across three years in NASCAR’s top series, with a best finish of second at Chicagoland in 2001. Also won 10 times on the Nationwide circuit, and twice on the Camping World Truck tour.
Shawna Robinson: The first female driver to win a pole in the Nationwide Series, she competed in all three of NASCAR’s national divisions across a 12-year span. Appeared in eight races at the premier level, with a best finish of 24th in the Daytona 500 in 2002.
Lyn St. James: The first woman to win Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, with 16 starts in major American open-wheel circuits. Founder of the Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation, which provides grants to female drivers to help advance their careers in motorsports.
Buddy Parrott: Won 49 events in 18 seasons at NASCAR’s top level, 10 of them coming with Rusty Wallace in the 1993 campaign. Won the Daytona 500 with Richard Petty and Derrike Cope, and also oversaw race victories for Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Burton.
Waddell Wilson: Winner of eight races with three different drivers -- Geoffrey Bodine, Bobby Allison and Ricky Rudd -- as a crew chief, but better known as an engine builder. His power plants were behind championships won by David Pearson and Benny Parsons, and the first 200 mph lap at Talladega.
Jack Housby: Fielded cars in the 1970s and ’80s. Housby made 12 starts in the sport’s premier division, with a best finish of fifth with driver Pete Hamilton at the former North Carolina Motor Speedway in 1972. Is also former president of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.
Steve Lewis: Former U.S. Auto Club car owner whose teams were a powerhouse, providing a springboard for future stars like Stan Fox, Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne. J.J. Yeley, Mile Bliss, Jason Leffler and many others drove for a team that earned over 130 feature wins in a 29-year span.
Bud Moore: A NASCAR Hall of Fame member who won the 1962 and ’63 premier-series championships with Joe Weatherly, he claimed 63 races in a long career working out of Spartanburg, S.C. His drivers also included Bobby Allison, Ricky Rudd, and Dale Earnhardt.
Robert Yates: One of NASCAR’s top engine builders, he moved into team ownership when he bought Harry Ranier’s team in 1988. He won 57 races over 21 years, including a trio of Daytona 500 crowns -- one with Davey Allison, and two with Dale Jarrett, with whom he won the championship in 1999.
Mark Arute: General manager and chief operating officer of Stafford Motor Speedway, a half-mile oval in Stafford Springs, Conn.
Lee Baumgarten: Director of operations at Phoenix International Raceway, and former general manager of Tucson Raceway Park.
Clay Campbell: President of Martinsville Speedway, and occasional driver who last year finished 12th in a K&N Pro Series East event at Columbus, Ohio.
Joie Chitwood: President of Daytona International Speedway.
Ed Clark: President of Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Barbara Cromarty: Co-owner of Riverhead Raceway, a quarter-mile track in Riverhead, N.Y.
Doug Fritz: President of Iowa Speedway, and former president of Richmond International Raceway.
Richard Gore: Owner of Old Dominion Raceway, a three-eighths mile oval near Manassas, Va.
Russell Hackett: Owner of Caraway Speedway, a half-mile track near Asheboro, N.C.
Brandon Igdalsky: President of Pocono Raceway.
Stan Lasky: General Mangager at Motordrome Speedway, a half-mile track near Smithson, Pa. Also a former late-model driver who three times fielded a car in the premier series as an owner.
Grant Lynch: Chairman of Talladega Superspeedway.
Denis McGlynn: Chief executive officer of Dover Motorsports, which owns Dover International Speedway.
Bill Mullis: Operator of Langley Speedway, a .33-mile track located in Hampton, Va.
Steve Page: President and general manager of Sonoma Raceway.
Dale Pinilis: Operator of Bowman Gray Stadium, a quarter-mile track Winston-Salem, N.C., and the longest continuously operating weekly track in NASCAR.
Cathy Rice: General manager of South Boston Speedway, a .4-mile track in South Boston, Va.
Kevin Whitaker: Owner of Greenville-Pickens Speedway, a half-mile track near Easley, S.C.
John White: Co-owner of Chemung Speedrome, a three-eighths mile track in Chemung, N.Y., best known as the springboard for Bodine brothers Geoffrey, Brett, and Todd.
Jim Williams: Former operator of Irwindale Speedway, a track in Irwindale, Calif., that features half- and quarter-mile ovals.
Jo DeWitt Wilson: Former president of North Carolina Motor Speedway, which hosted NASCAR’s premier series from 1965-2005, and now hosts the Camping World Truck Series under owner Andy Hillenburg and the name Rockingham Speedway.
Jeff Belskus: Chief executive officer of the IndyCar Series, and former chief executive officer of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
John Bishop: Former executive director of the Sports Car Club of America.
Paul Brooks: Former NASCAR senior vice president, and president of NASCAR Media Group.
John Capels: Former president and chairman of the board of the United States Auto Club. Also won four major open-wheel races as a team manager, the last with Johnny Rutherford at Michigan in 1986.
Ken Clapp: Former race promoter and NASCAR executive who was key in opening the sport to the West Coast. Helped bring the premier series to the road course at Sonoma, Calif.
David Hall: Former president of Gaylord Communications Group, whose holdings included former NASCAR television partner The Nashville Network.
Don Panoz: Patriarch of the Panoz motorsports empire that includes a manufacturer of high-performance automobiles, and the race track Road Atlanta. Also creator of the American LeMans Series, which in 2014 will become part of United Sports Car Racing.
Jay Signore: Former president of the defunct International Race of Champions, which held events combining top drivers from different circuits from 1964 until its closing following the 2006 season.
Humpy Wheeler: Head of consulting firm The Wheeler Company. Longtime track promoter and former president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Christiane Ayotte: Director of doping control at the Institut National de la Recherché Scientifique in Montreal, a lab accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Dick Berggren: Longtime racing broadcaster and magazine editor who was lead pit reporter on FOX from 2001 until 2012. Also a former driver in modifieds, stock cars and sprint cars.
Robert L. DuPont: First director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and White House Drug Czar from 1973 to ’77 under presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. Current principal at Bensinger DuPont and Associates, which administers drug testing management and employee assistance programs.
Laurel Farrell: Retired toxicologist who formerly worked for the Colorado Department of Health and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. She also works with the National Laboratory Certification Program which certifies drug testing laboratories for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
John Horton: CEO of LegitScript.com, which verifies online pharmacies for Google, Microsoft, USDA, etc. Former Associate Deputy Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (White House Drug Czar’s Office).
Chief Appellate Officer
John Middlebrook: Former General Motors vice president of global sales, service and marketing. As general manager for Chevrolet, key in establishing the Corvette racing program. Retired in 2008 after 49 years with GM. As Chief Appellate Officer, best known for overturning a 25-point penalty to Jimmie Johnson and six-week suspension to Chad Knaus last year, although he upheld a 150-point penalty to Clint Bowyer under the previous points system in 2010.