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Seven crew members were suspended, points were docked and fines of $200,000 were levied.
President Barack Obama poses with (from left) NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski, team owner Roger Penske and crew chief Paul Wolfe, along with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship and Keselowski's car during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House on Tuesday.
Associated Press;Joey Logano
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
FORT WORTH, Texas — NASCAR cracked down on Penske Racing on Wednesday, suspending seven crew members of defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski and teammate Joey Logano and levying $200,000 in fines for bringing unapproved parts to Texas Motor Speedway for last weekend’s race.
The two drivers and their car owners were each docked 25 championship points, dropping Keselowski from second to fourth in the Cup standings and Logano from ninth 14th.
Keselowski crew chief Paul Wolfe and Logano crew chief Todd Gordon were each fined $100,000 and placed on probation for the rest of the calendar year. Also suspended for the next six championship points races were Travis Geisler, who serves as team manager for both cars, along with the individual car chiefs and team engineers of both the Nos. 2 and 22 cars.
Penske Racing vowed to appeal.
“Penske Racing will appeal utilizing the appropriate NASCAR process,” the team said. “We have no further comment at this time.”
NASCAR inspectors confiscated the original rear-end housing from Keselowski’s No. 2 Ford and Logano’s No. 22 before Saturday night’s race. It caused a pre-race scramble for both teams. Logano was late to the starting grid because of the additional inspections and he had to start at the back of the field. He finished fifth and Keselowski was ninth.
Keselowski was livid after the race,.
“The things I’ve seen over the last seven days have me questioning everything that I believe in, and I’m not happy about it,” Keselowski said. “I have one good thing to say, and that was my team and the effort they put in today, in fighting back with the absolute [expletive] that’s been the last seven days in this garage area.”
NASCAR said both Penske cars used parts that had not been approved before getting to Texas.
With the team manager and the engineers of both cars also being suspended, the penalties against the Penske teams went further than last season after Jimmie Johnson’s car failed the opening day inspection at the Daytona 500. Five-time championship winning crew chief Chad Knaus and the car chief for that Hendrick Motorsports car were suspended for six races.
Knaus still had to pay a $100,000 fine, but the bulk of the penalties levied against him and the car chief were later overturned by NASCAR’s chief appellate officer, the highest level of appeal. Johnson also got back 25 points that had been docked.
Martin Truex, who finished second at Texas behind Kyle Busch, was also punished Wednesday for having a front end that was too low. He and owner Michael Waltrip were each docked six points and crew chief Chad Johnston was fined $25,000 and placed on probation until June 5. The points deduction dropped Truex from 16th to 19th in points heading into this weekend’s race at Kansas.
Keselowski, who has six top-10 finishes, got a penalty a week earlier at Martinsville for pitting outside his stall. He still disputes that.
“There’s so much stuff going on. You guys have no idea ... what’s going on,” Keselowski said Saturday night.
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