Unapproved modifications to the frame rails of a NASCAR Sprint Cup car can be very expensive, as crew chief Slugger Labbe and his No. 27 Richard Childress Racing team found out Wednesday afternoon.
The sanctioning body fined Labbe $100,000 and suspended him from NASCAR competition until Oct. 3 for violations discovered in post-race inspection at the research-and-development center in Concord, N.C. The No. 27 Chevrolet, driven by Paul Menard, was the random car chosen for inspection after Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Car chief Craig Smokstad and crew member Grant Hutchens also drew suspensions until Oct. 3, after NASCAR discovered that the frame rails had been modified after having been previously approved. The rule book citation also includes "intentionally modifying frame rails for the purpose of deceiving NASCAR's inspection gauges."
Labbe, Smokstad and Hutchens, who would sit out six races under the suspensions, were placed on probation though Dec. 31. In addition, Menard and team owner Richard Childress were docked 25 championship driver points and 25 owner points, respectively.
Childress indicated to FoxSports.com that he plans to appeal. If he does so, Labbe, Smokstad and Hutchens would have their suspensions deferred until the appeals process runs its course.
Menard finished ninth in Sunday's race, fourth best among Chevy drivers. The 25-point penalty drops him from 15th to 16th in the Cup standings.