Penske Racing got a semi-win, of sorts, from National Stock Car Chief Appelate Officer John Middlebrook on Tuesday when the team appealed its NASCAR penalties from the April 13 pre-race inspection of the No. 2 (drivr: Brad Keselowski) and No. 22 (driver Joey Logano) Fords at Texas Motor Speedway.
While Middlebrook upheld the points deductions and fines, he reduced suspensions for several team members from six points-paying races plus the Sprint All-Star Race to the next two points-paying races and the All-Star Race.
“After looking at all the facts and data and interpretations from the rule book, I have decided to uphold the original fines and points penalties,” Middlebrook said. “However, I have decided to reduce the suspensions of the seven team members involved from six points races and the all-star race to two points races and the all-star race.”
The penalties came as a result of NASCAR having an issue with the rear ends of the cars prior to the Texas race. The issue was remedied before the event. In its original penalties announcement, NASCAR cited sections 12-1 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing), 12-4J (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that race equipment used in the event does not conform to the NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20 of the NASCAR rule book, or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the event) and 20-12 (All suspension systems and components must be approved by NASCAR. Prior to being used in competition, all suspension systems and components must be submitted in a completed form/assembly to the office of the NASCAR competition administrator for consideration of approval and approved by NASCAR. Each such part may thereafter be used until NASCAR determines that such part is no longer eligible. All suspension fasteners and mounting hardware must be made of solid magnetic steel. All front end and rear end suspension mounts with mounting hardware assembled must have single round mounting holes that are the correct size for the fastener being used. All front end and rear end suspension mounts and mounting hardware must not allow movement or realignment of any suspension component beyond component normal rotation or suspension travel.) of the 2013 NASCAR rule book.
As a result of Middlebrook’s ruling, crew chiefs Paul Wolfe (2) and Todd Gordon (22), car chiefs Jerry Kelley (2) and Raymond Fox (22), team engineers Brian Wilson (2) and Samuel Stanley (22) and Penske Racing Competition Director Travis Geisler will miss Saturday night’s race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 18, and the Coca-Cola 600, also at Charlotte, on May 26.
Penalties that were upheld by Middlebrook include $100,000 fines for Wolfe and Gordon, the loss of 25 driver points for Keselowski and Logano and the loss of 25 owner points for each car for team owner Roger Penske.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR