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 width=The National Motorsports Appeal Panel upheld the penalties assessed by NASCAR to Richard Childress Racing No. 31 team for altered tires used on Ryan Newman's car in the March 22 race at Auto Club Speedway, but the panel lowered the points deduction and monetary penalty.

After hearing RCR's appeal for nearly seven hours on Thursday, the three- member panel decided to reduce the loss of points for both driver Newman and car owner Richard Childress from 75 to 50 and lessen crew chief Luke Lambert's fine from $125,000 to $75,000.

The six-race suspensions for Lambert, James Bender, the tire technician on the No. 31 team, and Philip Surgen, the team engineer, still stand. All three were placed on probation until Dec. 31 as well.

On March 31, NASCAR handed down the severe penalties to the 31 team following a tire audit conducted after the race at Auto Club Speedway. The sanctioning body had been taking tires from several teams, including Newman's, and having them thoroughly inspected at an independent agency this past month.

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