Atlanta: Richard Childress talks with media

Chevrolet NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Friday Richard Childress press conference Atlanta Motor Speedway RICHARD CHILDRESS , PRESIDENT AND CEO OF RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING, TALKED WITH MEDIA REGARDING NASCAR'S PENALTY OF THE NO. 29 TEAM FOLLOWING ...

Chevrolet NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Friday
Richard Childress press conference
Atlanta Motor Speedway

RICHARD CHILDRESS , PRESIDENT AND CEO OF RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING, TALKED WITH MEDIA REGARDING NASCAR'S PENALTY OF THE NO. 29 TEAM FOLLOWING LAST WEEKEND'S POST-QUALIFYING INSPECTION AT LAS VEGAS.

Todd Berrier, crew chief for the No. 29 Chevrolet driven by Kevin Harvick, was suspended for four races and fined $25,000. Those penalties resulted from the No. 29 having an unapproved fuel filler and unapproved fuel cell vent. In addition to Berrier's penalties, Harvick has been penalized 25 driver championship points, dropping him from eighth to 10th in the driver standings, while car owner Richard Childress loses 25 car owner championship points.

Q&A'S WITH RICHARD CHILDRESS:

(WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE SUSPENSION AND THE PENALTY?) "Well, I can only speak for the No. 29 car. I thought it was excessive for what we had done. We do deserve a penalty but not to that amount. We had to start from the rear of the field. I thought that was a penalty. And then the fine and the suspension and I disagree with the points and I disagree with the length of the suspension. We think it's a lot more severe than it should be."

(ARE YOU APPEALING?) "Yes. I think our appeal date is Monday, March 28th."

(DO YOU THINK THE SEVERITY OF THE PENALTY WAS INCREASED BECAUSE TODD BERRIER ADMITTED TO THE INFRACTION AND SAID HE'D DO IT AGAIN?) "We know that he did wrong and he knows he did wrong. We deserve a penalty, but not in the amount that we got. I think starting in the rear was bad enough."

(WILL THE ABSENSE OF TODD BERRIER HURT THE TEAM'S PERFORMANCE?) "Well, technically, anytime you a key player out, it's going to hurt some, but (chief engineer) Scott Miller will crew chief the car and Chris Hussy will be the engineer on it instead of Scott. So we think we've got it covered as well as we can for him not being here."

(WOULD IT CHANGE ANYTHING IF THEY PUT MORE RESPONSIBILITY ON THE DRIVERS?) "I disagree with the point penalty system. Most of the time the drivers have no clue what's going on. So I disagree. I don't think the drivers should be penalized. I disagree with penalizing with points at all because of like what happened to the No. 42 last year. It affected their sponsors and their team and a lot of things. I don't have the answer about what they should do, but I think if we came up with a better system it would be a lot better than taking points. More fines, longer suspensions - do whatever you want to do - but the points affect too many people that don't have anything to do with it."

(WHAT ABOUT TAKING A WIN AWAY?) "It's hard to say on a win. I know I wouldn't want to have one taken away. The problem you've got with taking a win away is that if somebody's got something they've got in their hands that is deliberately used for an advantage, I can see the possibility of taking a win away. If something uncontrollable happens, I disagree with taking the win away."

(WILL YOU PENALIZE TODD BERRIER OR DO YOU THINK NASCAR'S PENALTITIES ARE STRONG ENOUGH?) "Todd is getting penalized by NASCAR and he and I have has a pretty stiff talk."

(HAVE YOU BEEN SHOWN ANY OF THE DATA WHEN THEY ISSUE YOU A PENALTY?) "We haven't asked for it, but they tell us they have it. It wasn't worth going in there and arguing about it at that point."

(IS NASCAR SENDING A MESSAGE THAT THEY WON'T TOLERATE ANYTHING THIS YEAR?) "Well, they've been doing it for a year or two or three - I can go a lot further back. I just didn't agree with the four weeks. For what we did wrong, Todd deserves a suspension. That's the reason we went ahead and sat out one week. We just hope it's not four."

(WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT NASCAR PUSHING GRAY AREAS LIKE THIS, AND HOW MUCH DOES THE CREW CHIEF REALLY SHARE WITH THE OWNER?) "Most of the time, I don't want to know what they're doing. It's all right to go in a gray area, but when you go beyond a gray area then you've got a problem. We went a little beyond the gray area."

(BUT WERE YOU DISAPPOINTED THEY PUSHED IT THAT FAR?) "Yes. It's just about everything that has gone on in the sport. Two wrongs don't make a right. What they've done with somebody else doesn't mean that what they've done to us makes it right."

(WHY DID TODD BERRIER GET SUSPENDED FOR FOUR WEEKS AND CHAD KNAUS ONLY GOT SUSPENDED FOR TWO WEEKS?) "I don't know. Our concern is Todd's four weeks. I don't think it should have been that much. I think he should have been suspended but no more than a couple of weeks."

(TODD BERRIER IS SITTING OUT THIS WEEKEND EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE APPEALING..WHY?) "Because I think he deserves a penalty, but not four weeks. I want to get it started right now. I don't want it to drag out. I've never won an appeal in my 35 years and I've had quite a few. I don't see why we would win this one, but I had to make a statement because I disagree. If it had just been us that weekend, I probably would have let it ride. But when I start getting questions from sponsors and other people and race fans, we had to respond. I do agree with them and four weeks is too much."

(HOW DOES LOSING TODD BERRIER AFFECT THE TEAM?) "He's disappointed. But he knew he was wrong and he knew it was coming."

-gm racing-

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup