After almost six hours of hearing testimony and reviewing the facts at the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, N.C., the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel voted to uphold the original penalties and fines originally handed down on April 17 to Penske Racing and the No. 2 and No. 22 teams in an unanimous decision.
The team plans to appeal today’s decision to John Middlebrook, the National Stock Car Racing Chief Appellate Officer.
Penske Racing was penalized for infractions discovered pre-race at Texas Motor Speedway. The rear axle housings of both the No. 2 Ford driven by reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski and the No. 22 Ford driven by Joey Logano were confiscated.
NASCAR deemed the manipulation of the rear housings, designed to create greater rear axle offset when the cars were in motion, outside “the spirit of the rules,” as NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton observed on Apr. 13, the date of the Cup race at Texas.
Both Penske teams were required to replace their rear housings before the race. Keselowski’s car made it to the starting grid on time, but Logano’s was late, requiring a start from the rear of the field. Nevertheless, both drivers finished in the top 10.
On Wednesday, Apr. 17, NASCAR issued severe penalties to the Penske organization for the use of unapproved parts, sanctions that included an unprecedented loss of personnel. Crew chiefs Paul Wolfe (Keselowski) and Todd Gordon (Logano) were fined $100,000 each and suspended for six Sprint Cup points events, a penalty that would also keep them on the sidelines for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race in May.
In addition, the car chiefs and race engineers from both teams drew six-race suspensions, as did Penske team manager Travis Geisler. Keselowski and Logano were docked 25 championship points each, and owners Roger Penske (Keselowski) and Walt Czarnecki (Logano) each lost 25 owner points.
Penske, Czarnecki, Geisler, Wolfe, Gordon and Penske Racing president Tim Cindric represented the organization at Wednesday’s appeal.