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Panel upholds suspensions of 2 Richard Childress Racing team members

Motorsports Notebook

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Friday, May. 24, 2013

A three-member panel of the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel on Friday unanimously upheld the suspensions of two Richard Childress Racing team members charged with assault last month.

Thomas Costello and Michael Scearce, who work for RCR’s No. 2 Nationwide Series team, were each suspended four races and fined $15,000 for their involvement in a post-race incident last month at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Both are also on probation until Dec. 31.

Henrico County (Va.) Police charged Scearce with two counts of misdemeanor assault and Costello with a single count of misdemeanor assault following a physical altercation near the track’s driver/owner motor home lot.

The crew members face a June 25 court date in Richmond. They are set to begin their suspensions beginning with next weekend’s race at Dover, Del.

The crew members can still appeal a final time to Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook, but no decision has been made.

Menard and sponsor extend with RCR: Menards, the third-largest home improvement store in the U.S., has agreed to a multi-year sponsorship renewal of RCR’s No. 27 Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series driven by Paul Menard.

Menards first partnered with RCR in 2011, the same year Paul Menard won his first Cup race at the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis. Menard is in his sixth full season and is currently 10th in the series standings, with four top-10 finishes in the first 11 races.

Wood Brothers reach milestone: Trevor Bayne qualified 29th-fastest Thursday night and ensured the Wood Brothers will make their 1,400th start in a Sprint Cup Series race in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.

“We all feel very fortunate to be where we are today,” said team co-owner Eddie Wood. “We couldn’t have done it without having great drivers in our cars over the years, from my dad in the beginning to Trevor Bayne today.

“And we couldn’t have done it without the support of Ford Motor Company. They’ve been right there with us through the great times and the struggles.”

Had rain cancelled qualifying, the Wood Brothers – running a partial schedule – would have missed the race. Rain, however, held off until later in the night.

Green wins Legends All-Star race: Tyler Green, the son of former NASCAR driver Mark Green, won the rain-shortened Legends All-Star Race Thursday night at CMS and its $2,500 first prize.

Green started from the pole and stayed ahead of chaos that plagued the race. A large wreck brought out the caution on Lap 31, and the cleanup was lengthy enough to allow strong approaching lightning storm to reach the track, ending the race nine laps early.

“They were battling behind me but I had a good distance on them, just trying to take care of my stuff and be at the checkered flag when it dropped,” Mark Green said.

NASCAR vs. firefighters: NASCAR crew members will have the chance to prove their mettle this weekend as they compete alongside firefighters in what’s being billed as the “toughest two minutes in sports.”

Cup driver Jamie McMurray will be on hand to cheer on the competitors in the Firefighter Combat Challenge Sunday outside Turn 2 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR crew members and Firefighter Combat Challenge competitors will be outfitted in firefighting gear and compete in teams of five in challenges such as climbing a five-story tower; hoisting, chopping, and dragging hoses. Competitors also will “rescue” a life-sized 175-pound “victim” as they race against the clock.

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