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CUP: Penske Appeal Being Heard

NASCAR’s appellate court is officially open for business.

The hearing for Penske Racing’s appeal of penalties levied by NASCAR after the Texas Motor Speedway race began at 9 a.m. today and is expected to take most of the day.

The hearing is being conducted at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. Three members of NASCAR’s appeals committee will rule on the penalties.

During today’s hearing, the penalties can be upheld, overturned or changed in severity. If Penske loses the appeal, they can make a final appeal to National Stock Car Racing Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook.

Since 1999, there have been 146 total NASCAR appeals. Of those appeals, 102 were upheld,31 reduced,11 overturned and two increased.

Representing Penske Racing today are team owner Roger Penske, Vice Chairman Walt Czarnecki, President Tim Cindric, Wolfe, Gordon and team manager Travis Geisler.

Penske was penalized for what NASCAR deemed improper rear suspension modifications prior to the April 13 race at TMS. NASCAR’s reaction was swift and severe: The crew chief, car chief and engineer for both Brad Keselowski’s and Joey Logano’s Penske Fords were suspended for six weeks each, as was the team manager who oversees both cars.

In addition, each team was docked 25 owner and driver points, and crew chiefs Paul Wolfe (Keselowski) and Todd Gordon (Logano) were fined $100,000 each.

The full NASCAR statement on the Penske penalties:

The No. 2 and No. 22 cars have also been penalized. Both cars were found to be in violation of Sections 12-1; 12-4J 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 normal rotation or suspension travel.)

As a result of this violation and as it pertains to the No. 2 car the following penalties have been assessed:

• Crew chief Paul Wolfe has been fined $100,000 and suspended from NASCAR until the completion of the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship points events (including the non-points Sprint All-Star Race) and placed on probation until Dec. 31.

• Car chief Jerry Kelley, team engineer Brian Wilson and team manager Travis Geisler (serves as team manager for both the No. 2 and No. 22 cars) have been suspended from NASCAR until the completion of the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship points events (including the non-points Sprint All-Star Race) and placed on probation until Dec. 31.

• The loss of 25 championship driver (Brad Keselowski) and 25 championship owner (Roger Penske) points.

As it pertains to the No. 22 car the following penalties have been assessed:

• Crew chief Todd Gordon has been fined $100,000 and suspended from NASCAR until the completion of the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship points events (including the non-points Sprint All-Star Race) and placed on probation until Dec. 31.

• Car chief Raymond Fox and team engineer Samuel Stanley have been suspended from NASCAR until the completion of the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship points events (including the non-points Sprint All-Star Race) and placed on probation until Dec. 31.

• The loss of 25 championship driver (Joey Logano) and 25 championship owner (Walt Czarnecki) points.

Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100.