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Menard penalized by NASCAR for violations

EAU CLAIRE - NASCAR driver Paul Menard of Eau Claire was given a major penalty yesterday, after modifications were found to the frame rails on his car after last Sunday's race at Michigan.

Menard and his car's owner, Richard Childress, were each docked 25 points in their respective standings. Also, Menard's crew chief - Slugger Laube - was fined 100-thousand dollars, was suspended until Oct. 3, and was put on probation for the rest of the year. The same suspensions and probation were ordered for Menard's car chief, Craig Smokstad - and for crew member Grant Hutchens.

Milwaukee native Diandra Leslie-Pelecky, who wrote a book on the physics of NASCAR, tweeted that the big penalty was justified. She said the modifying of frame rails could compromise safety in a crash. The 25-point penalty will drop Menard one place to 16th in the Sprint Cup season point standings.