Robby Gordon was docked 50 points by NASCAR on Wednesday for failing inspection after his best finish in almost four years.
Crew chief Kirk Almquist was also fined $50,000 and placed on probation until the end of the season for the infraction discovered Monday at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
Gordon used strategy in the rain-shortened Coca-Cola to finish third, his best finish in a Sprint Cup Series race since he was second at Watkins Glen in 2005. Knowing the race could be called at any time, David Reutimann, Ryan Newman and Gordon did not pit with the leaders during a caution for rain. The three moved to the top of the leaderboard and ran five laps under caution before the race was stopped.
NASCAR called the race after a two-hour delay, and inspected the top three finishing cars. The rear housing of Gordon's No. 7 Toyota did not meet NASCAR specifications. Had Gordon not gambled on the rain to finish third, his car would likely not have been inspected.
He was docked 100 points and his crew chief was fined $100,000 last season when the car he presented for the season-opening Daytona 500 had an unapproved front bumper.
Gordon successfully argued before a three-member appeals committee that the bumper was a prototype that had been mistakenly given to him by Dodge after his last-minute switch from Ford. The appeals committee restored his 100 points, but raised crew chief Frank Kerr's monetary fine from $100,000 to $150,000.
At the time, Kerr's fine was the largest in NASCAR history. It was topped last week by the $200,000 fine Carl Long's crew chief received for bringing an illegal motor to Lowe's.
Gordon's latest penalty does not knock him outside the important top-35 mark in points. He is 34th in owner standings, and after the deduction still has a 131-point advantage over 36th-place driver Scott Speed.