Penske Racing loses appeal, penalties upheld (Again)

UPDATE On May 7, 2013 the Chief Appellate Officer heard and considered the appeal of the penalties from the #2 and #22 Penske Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams. These penalties stemmed from pre-race inspection for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Texas Motor Speedway April 13. The penalties concern Sections 12-1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing; 12-4J: Any determination by NASCAR Officials that race equipment used in the event does not conform to the NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20 of the NASCAR rule book, or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the event; 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 component normal rotation or suspension travel.

The results of the Chief Appellate Officer hearing were:
– Upholding the fines and points penalties that were originally assessed.
– Reducing the suspensions of the seven team members from six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship points events (plus the non-points NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race) to two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship points events (plus the non-points NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race).
The seven team members in question will be suspended for the next three upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekends at Darlington Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway. They will return for the race weekend at Dover International Speedway. They remain on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.

"After looking at all the facts and data and interpretations from the rule book, I have decided to uphold the original fines and points penalties," said John Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Officer. "However, I have decided to reduce the suspensions of the seven team members involved from six points races and the all-star race to two points races and the all-star race." NASCAR

05/01/13 A three-member NASCAR appeals board upheld all of the penalties levied against Penske Racing

Wednesday for violating NASCAR’s rear suspension rules at the April 13 race at Texas Motor Speedway. Penske will make one final appeal to NASCAR chief appellate officer John Middlebrook.

NASCAR suspended the crew chiefs, car chiefs and engineers for both Penske teams, as well as the team’s competition director, for seven weeks after determining that suspension parts on their cars were not approved and violated new rules prohibiting the rear suspension from rotating. also penalized drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano and their teams 25 points each and fined the crew chiefs $100,000.

The suspensions were deferred pending the appeal and will be deferred pending the final appeal. Middlebrook, a former General Motors executive, will hear the final appeal on May 7.

“Obviously it’s a disappointing outcome," Penske Racing owner Roger Penske said Wednesday afternoon. “We met with the panel for over four or five hours. It was a good process.

“I feel that we have a good case."

It wasn’t good enough to convince the NASCAR appeals panel, which included Pocono Raceway President Brandon Igdalsky, former NASCAR Senior Vice President Paul Brooks and Bowman-Gray Stadium promoter Dale Pinilis.

“We take our inspection process very seriously," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. “We believe we do a strong and credible job with it.

“We think that the level playing field of competition now in the garage is the best it’s ever been. As the sanctioning body, we’ve got to uphold the rules and regulations that are in the rulebook."

The penalties were issued after NASCAR had confiscated the parts and pieces from the cars of Keselowski and Logano prior to the Texas race.

Penske declined to talk about the specifics of the appeal. He has said that the team was working in a gray area, and Keselowski said it was his understanding that all the parts were approved.

By increasing rear skew, the car would be able to turn easier in the corner. Many teams last year had developed rear suspension systems to increase rear skew, and NASCAR added rules this year to curb many of those tricks.

With the penalty, Keselowski is sixth in the Cup standings, 59 points behind the leader. Logano is 17th, 43 points out of 10th, the cutoff for a guaranteed spot in the Chase. Sporting News

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