NASCAR schedules hearing for Roush spring penalty

What Mark Martin doesn't want to happen on Sunday is to lose the Winston Cup championship by twenty-five points. Martin was penalized 25 driver points after an illegal spring was found post-race at Rockingham. Today, Roush Racing President Geoff...

What Mark Martin doesn't want to happen on Sunday is to lose the Winston Cup championship by twenty-five points. Martin was penalized 25 driver points after an illegal spring was found post-race at Rockingham. Today, Roush Racing President Geoff Smith announced that Roush would indeed "pursue the relief available to us through NASCAR."

A hearing has been scheduled for Saturday morning. NASCAR's Jim Hunter stated that representatives from Roush Racing would meet with commission chairman George Silvermann and two other members from a 22-person list of commission members.

"We hope that these 25 points have no impact in this year's championship race, and do not enjoy having this issue present itself at this late date, yet we cannot passively submit to a punishment that is so excessive for the offense," commented Smith.

"We also recognize that the list of successful appellants can fit on the back of a postage stamp, but we remain hopeful that after a sober review of each of the spring related penalty violations, the Commission will confirm NASCAR's written commitment to fairness by reinstating our points."

This is not the first penalty accessed against the #6 Roush Racing team this year. The car was too low in post-race inspection after the Charlotte race in May, garnering $50,000 worth of fines, and an unapproved window strap at Talladega in October cost them $1,000. The Rockingham penalty is the first one, however, that cost them points. Well, this year at least. Smith feels strongly about the appeal pursuit with NASCAR.

"If we lost by 24 points I don't think I could look Jack or Mark in the eye," said Smith. "We want the points, because Mark and that Viagra team earned them on the racetrack."

If Martin ends up losing the championship by a margin comparative to the points he was docked, it might seem like deja vu. In 1990, Martin was fined 46 points for an illegal carburetor spacer post-race at the Richmond spring event.

As the season unfolded, Martin and Dale Earnhardt became locked in a heated points battle. Martin lost to Earnhardt by just 26 points.

"It was an incredibly unfortunate situation that happened in 1990," reflected Martin. "But in February NASCAR didn't look at Jack Roush and I and say we're going to prevent them from winning the championship."

Some call Mark Martin, the "Susan Lucci" of NASCAR. Since 1989, he has finished either second or third in championship points seven times. "The whole situation makes me sick," Martin said summing up the effect of "spring-gate" on his outlook.

"I do have better things do right now then to deal with this," added Martin.

Martin's challenge now is to try and put this behind him, not let it psyche him out and hinder his performance on the track. "I just wish that we weren't having to go through this," said Mark. "It's my hope, obviously, that something wonderful will happen for us at Homestead."

Martin and the #6 Roush Racing Team will conclude the 2003 season Sunday in Homestead. Martin enters the race in second place in the point's standings, 89 points behind Tony Stewart.

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Tony Stewart , Jack Roush , Jim Hunter , Mark Martin