Wednesday, July 9, 2008
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Martin Truex's bid to make the Chase for the championship took a severe hit Tuesday when NASCAR penalized his Dale Earnhardt Inc. team 150 points for bringing an illegal car to Daytona.
Truex's car failed its initial inspection last week at Daytona because the No. 1 Chevrolet failed to fit NASCAR's roof template. NASCAR officials seized the car and sent it to their Research and Development Center in Concord for further inspection.
'We've dug ourselves a hole but we're not giving up. This team seems to respond the best when its back is against the wall,' said Truex, who missed the only practice session before Saturday night's race because of the illegal car.
'We brought a new car to Daytona and it fit all of the templates at our shop. It doesn't appear to have been anything intentional on our part but it was still our responsibility. We'll deal with it and move on.'
But it will be an uphill battle from here for the star driver at DEI, who is in a contract negotiation year.
The 150-point penalty drops Truex from 14th in the standings to 18th. The top 12 drivers make the Chase, and Truex has just eight races to get back into contention.