NASCAR suspends two Cup crew chiefs, levies fines after Phoenix

(Getty Images)

NASCAR suspended the crew chiefs of Team Penske’s No. 2 and Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 4 Fords Wednesday.  The penalties were L1-level and found in postrace inspection after Sunday’s Cup race at Phoenix.

The No. 2 Ford, driven to a fifth-place finish by Brad Keselowski, was found to be in violation of sections of the NASCAR Rule Book (post-race general inspection measurements, weights and measures). As a result, crew chief Paul Wolfe was fined $65,000 and suspended from the next three Cup Series points races. The team was assessed with the loss of 35 driver points and 35 owner points. In addition, the fifth-place finish in the Camping World 500 is encumbered, per section 12.10 of the NASCAR Rule Book.

The violation for the No. 4 car is comes from sections I-4 of the NASCAR Rule Book (track bar mount and supports). Crew chief Rodney Childers was fined $25,000 and suspended from the next Cup Series points race. The team was assessed with the loss of 10 driver and 10 team owner points.  Driver Kevin Harvick’s sixth-place finish at Phoenix is also encumbered.

Both teams have the option to file an appeal to the National Motorsports Appeals Panel.

Team Penske issued a statement shortly after the penalties were announced:

“We have acknowledged the penalties levied against the No. 2 team following last weekend’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.  The race cars returned to the race shop today and we are in the process of evaluating the area in question.  In the meantime, we have decided Brian Wilson will serve as Brad Keselowski’s crew chief at Auto Club Speedway while we evaluate our approach relative to today’s penalties.”

Earlier in the day, the National Motorsports Appeals Panel upheld penalties against the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Cup series team. The team appealed the L1-level penalties that came from three loose lugnuts found after the race in Atlanta.  The penalties included a loss of 35 championship driver and owner points and a $65,000 fine and three-race suspension for crew chief Randall Burnett.

The panel, consisting of Richard Gore, Bill Lester and Steve York, rejected the appeal.

JTG Daugherty can appeal the panel’s decision to Bryan Moss, the National Motorsports Finals Appeals Officer.

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.