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NASCAR had already called in RCR officials to warn them that Bowyer's Chase-clinching car from the Sept. 11 race at Richmond had nearly failed inspection because its back end was very close to the mandated limits.
Bowyer said he appreciated that NASCAR warned them.
"That's why we tried to fix the thing -- that's why we did fix the thing -- before it went to New Hampshire so this wouldn't happen," he said.
Hamlin didn't buy the explanation.
"In the garage, everyone's known it for months," he said. "They've been warned, way before Richmond."
Bowyer had a six-point list of complaints and clarifications about how his car ended up with such a crushing penalty. He was passionate in stating his case that his No. 33 crew did nothing wrong and how the ruling tarnished his victory.
Bowyer led a race-high 177 laps, lost the lead to Tony Stewart, but stretched his final tank of gas 92 laps to win the race when Stewart ran out of fuel right before the final lap. The victory snapped an 88-race winless streak for Bowyer.
"If that (infraction) won me that race, I'd gladly give it back to them," he said. "We won that race on fuel mileage."
RCR has two other cars in the Chase. Harvick -- who moved up to second in the standings, 45 points behind Hamlin, after Bowyer's penalty -- and Jeff Burton, who is ninth in the Chase.
"We were the fastest legal car," Hamlin said.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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