What a day for Penske Racing! NASCAR docks both Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski twenty-five driver points, gives both their crew chiefs, Todd Gordon and Paul Wolfe, a $100,000 fine, and of course no penalty would be complete without suspending their crew chiefs for the next six races of the season.
The penalties are the result of a part deemed illegal by NASCAR. The part in question wasn’t originally deemed illegal though. Vice President Robin Pemberton said in an interview “that the part wasn’t in the spirit of competition.”
Pemberton corrected that statement by saying in an interview with Nascar.com:
“According to NASCAR, both Penske cars were found to be in violation of rule book sections 12-1, 12-4J and 20-12, which mandate that all suspension systems and components must be approved by NASCAR. Those sections also state that approval parts cannot be used after NASCAR deems them ineligible for competition, and also stipulate what suspension parts and hardware must be made of (solid magnetic steel), the correct size of round mounting holes, and limitations on movement or realignment of suspension parts beyond normal rotation or travel.”
The penalties are some of the harshest to date in NASCAR history. They also come at the worst time for Penske racing as Joey Logano’s points deduction will move him out of the top-12 in the point standings. Brad Keselowski, the defending Sprint Cup champion took a huge hit in points as well dropping from second to fourth in the standings, 34 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson .
The biggest blow to the Penske camp is suspending their crew chiefs for six races. If the penalties stand against Penske racing the crew chiefs would miss Kansas, Richmond, Talladega, Darlington, the Sprint All-Star race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, and the Coca-Cola 600 also at Lowe’s.
Fortunately for Penske, even though NASCAR has made their ruling on the penalties, Penske filed an appeal and all suspensions don’t go into effect until the appeal is heard and decided upon. The appeal could most likely go into next week before being decided upon by NASCAR officials.
NASCAR also penalized Martin Truex Jr. for failing post-race inspection, due to the car being too low to the ground. By now you would think NASCAR was done penalizing right? Nope, Ron Hornaday was docked fifteen driving points for wrecking Bubba Wallace in the closing laps during caution at Rockingham Motor Speedway. The penalty will drip Hornaday from fifth to thirteenth – 55 points behind the leader.
Now that the smoke has cleared, we can really begin to see just how far NASCAR has gone over a simple adjustment. Maybe the fines would have been understandable, but not giving Keseloski and Logano a chance to crawl out of this hole is only going to the hurt the sport. With the crew chiefs of both teams suspended and both drivers docked 25 points it seems almost certain that it would take a miracle to see the number 22 and the number 2 cars in the Sprint Cup chase this year; leaving the door wide open for five-time champion Jimmie Johnson to get the sixth title of his career.
What do you think? Did NASCAR go too far? What Penalty do you think will hurt the most? After these penalties will you be watching the race this weekend? Please let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear from you all.