Leftovers: NASCAR Busch East Series at Lime Rock by Penny Aicardi
More on the Chew Team Contraversy, Anton and More
The #99 on track. (Howie Hodge Photo)
Chew Team Loses Their Appeal
The National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and rejected an appeal by Buzz Chew Racing Wednesday afternoon for penalties assessed following Adirondack International Speedway on July 28th. The team was charged with violating the specified rear-end gear and transmission ratio for the event.
Ron “Spot” Ste-Marie, crew chief for the #99 team was suspended for three races and the team was moved from second place to last in the final running order.
The team has contended that it was an honest mistake and the wrong gear was put in the car accidentally. NASCAR disagreed. Ste-Marie appeared before the board, led by chairman George Silbermann, with results of a polygraph test to back up his statements.
“I told him (Lee Roy, NASCAR’s series director) that I don’t like to be called a liar, and I take it personally when someone calls me one. Then I threw the results of the polygraph down on the table for him,” said Ste-Marie.
Buzz Chew Racing is the only team in history to have submitted lie detector tests to clear their name, and the board, according to Ste-Marie, did take notice. In fact, Ste-
Marie told them if they were not satisfied with their polygraph results, they would submit to another polygraph of NASCAR’s choosing.
“We wanted to prove it was a mistake and not a calculated attempt at cheating,” said car owner Buzz Chew. “We also brought calculations based on wheel size, the motor, gears, etc. and how we could not have been doing it to run in third gear.”
Ste-Marie told Speed51.com that the Commission was only hearing arguments towards Ste-Marie’s three-race suspension, and that that the loss of the finish was a matter the team would have to take up with Roy.
“Lee has tried his hardest to get us kicked out altogether. He keeps comparing this situation to the Eddie MacDonald situation. It’s a different deal. Nothing against Eddie or anything, but he had a motor that he didn’t want torn down,” Ste-Marie said. “Lee wanted us suspended indefinitely and submitted that to NASCAR, but they said no, we are just going to suspend him for three races. Lee took it upon himself to take the finish, points, and money away. NASCAR, and George Silbermann feels they already gave us break because they didn’t suspend us. (Silbermann) is such a by-the-book guy that he didn’t want to hear about the points and the finish and the money. We had to talk to Lee about that. It had to be completely separate and it wouldn’t be taken into consideration in the hearing.”
Roy confirmed that the Commission had upheld the original penalties.
“(Buzz Chew Racing) appealed to the committee. They heard two witnesses: one which was me and one which was Ron Ste-Marie. I don’t know what Spot said or did and he doesn’t know what I said or did because that’s the way it’s set up. After hearing both sides and asked questions of both they rendered the decision that upheld the penalties that were assessed,” Roy said.
Ste-Marie doesn’t deny getting caught with the wrong gear, but says the severity of the penalty is unprecedented. He brought research to the appeal hearing to back up those claims, but says he was told it was irrelevant.
“I had stats on gear rule violations for the last six years. Six people got caught in the Busch Series last year for the very same thing and each one got a $2,500 fine and here they are crucifying me. We got a whole lot of nowhere,” Ste-Marie said. “You can’t compare apples to apples because, according to Lee, it’s irrelevant.”
The team feels that this penalty is the result of a personal vendetta against them from Roy, the series director.
“I wouldn’t have my job if I had personal vendettas for teams. You can’t function like that,” said Roy. “He’s not the only one who has accused me or NASCAR of that. As I said to Spot afterwards, there are very few owners that I get along with or have fun with at the racetrack [other] than Buzz Chew. Spot and I joke around and we laugh together. I enjoy both of them. I don’t know where that notion would come from, but at the same time, at one time or another during a season, every team could say something like that.”
Buzz Chew, the owner of the race team, says that the team will run at Ohio, but the future of their operation after that race is in question.
“They don’t care about us even after years, years, and years of faithful service to this series. We’ve worked 100 hours a week trying to field cars and to be good sportsman. We don’t cause any problems at the track, and this is how we get repaid when we make an honest mistake, and we proved we made an honest mistake,” said Chew. “(Lee Roy) requested that we get suspended indefinitely for an honest mistake. How is that not a vendetta? Taking the finish away from us ultimately took $25-30,000 dollars away from us because we dropped so far back in the points and combined with the purse he took away it adds up very quickly.”
Jerry Babb, who worked for GRIZCO Racing during Mike Stefanik’s tenure as driver, has come on board during Ste-Marie’s suspension to give the team a hand.
It's not clear what impact this situation will have on Bryon Chew's future plans in the Busch East Series.
Anton Makes It To Podium
Jeff Anton scored his first career podium finish at Lime Rock Park when he posted a third place finish at the only road course event of the year. Anton capitalized on the last lap when several drivers hit a patch of oil and slid off course.
“My spotter was yelling at me to keep digging because cars were going off the racetrack," he said. "So I came over the hill wide open and I saw a line of oil that was enormous. It wasn't just one patch, it was spread across as wide as these cars are long. There was grass all over, too. I got on the brakes and grabbed the steering wheel so I could straighten it out and go down the straightaway. I held it wide open, dirt-tracking it and made it to the finish. I didn't even know where I finished but the guys were telling me I got third.”
Famed Road Racer Gets Tough Break
Maxime Dumarey, who comes from a European road racing background, showed his prowess at Lime Rock Park, and seemed to be headed for a career best finish. After an early pit stop, Dumarey was leading the race for eight laps under caution when his car suddenly stopped on the track. Dumarey was towed back to the pits and went four laps down – a disappointing end to a promising day.
Jeff Anton (NASCAR/Howie Hodge Photo)
“They pushed me in the pits and it was the battery,” explained Dumarey. “On the last two laps the car starting doing the same thing so I think we have an electrical problem or something. It was very disappointing because I’m sure we could have won the race. We were driving away from everyone.”
Dumarey re-entered the race, but experienced the same problem two laps before the conclusion. He went off course when the car suddenly lost power again. At that point there was nothing he could do but wait for a truck to bring him back to the pits. When the race was over, Dumarey was scored in the 21st position.
“The team was awesome," Moloney said. "Having Steve Bird on the pit box is a huge advantage. He's the one driving me while I'm driving the car. He's got a whole bunch of championships so when he gives you advice, you better take it. All the guys did a good job, from the spotters to the guys on pit road."
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Yeah, I was bored. I was seeing how high I could get the left front up in the air just to make it look cool. I was that bored,” – Joey Logano about running at Lime Rock several laps down.
Joey Logano bounces around at Lime Rock. (NASCAR / Howie Hodge Photo)
Olsen’s Bad Luck Continues
Mike Olsen, car owner for Max Dumarey, didn’t have any better luck than his younger counterpart. Olsen, who also led the Mohegan Sun 200, hit the oil on the last corner of the last turn and slammed into the guardrail after he seemingly was headed for a second place finish. Olsen feels NASCAR should have thrown the caution.
“I’m a little disappointed in NASCAR. They should have had an official down there to make the call that there was oil down, and they shouldn’t let cars out on the track that have been putting oil down the whole race,” he said.
Olsen led for a total of 17 laps and was a top-five contender the whole day. Unfortunately, the incident cost him big at the finish and had to settle for ninth.
Lost Part, Lost Temper
Rogelio Lopez lost seven laps in the Mohegan Sun 200 due to losing a rear axle cap causing the axle to fall out of the rear end housing, but losing his temper was probably what people will remember the most. Lopez was involved in an incident with Marc Davis during the course of the race that forced the driver off track.
"I really want to apologize to Marc Davis," Lopez said. "He was on the lead lap and I just ran over him. I think I was faster than he was, but that's not a reason for knocking him off the track so I have to apologize to him for doing that."
Maloney Turns Debut Into Top-10
Larry Maloney of Waylong, Mass. Started his first Busch East Series, Grand National Division race with a top-10 finish. The team made up for Maloney’s lack of experience in the series with a ton of experience in the pits – Steve Bird.
Mike Olsen (NASCAR / Howie Hodge Photo)