NASCAR handed out the biggest fine in stock car history Sunday night when Mark Martin's Ford Thunderbird was found to have an illegal engine part three hours after it won the Pontiac 400 at the Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
The team was fined $40,000 and 46 points in the standings when a spacer between the carburetor and intake manifold was found to be a half-inch too tall. NASCAR rules limit the height of the spacer to two inches. Martin's was 2 1/2 inches.
"We don't know if it's an advantage or not," said Winston Cup Competition Director Dick Beaty. "The rule is to make sure the carburetor and air filter fit under the hood."
Martin was allowed to keep the victory, but will take home only $19,150 of his $59,150 earnings.
He left the raceway before learning his car had flunked technical inspection.
Martin had won the race when his crew changed just the right-side tires of his Ford Thunderbird with 15 laps left.