Penske feels wrath for Texas rear ends
Wednesday, Apr. 17, 2013
Drivers Brad Keselowski, left, and Joey Logano talk in the garage during practice for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va., Friday, April 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
The Penske Racing teams of defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano were hit hard with penalties by NASCAR after their cars failed prerace inspection for using illegal rear-end parts last week at Texas Motor Speedway.
Keselowski and Logano were docked 25 driver points each Wednesday, and their respective crew chiefs – Paul Wolfe and Todd Gordon – were fined $100,000 apiece, suspended for six points races and the Sprint All-Star Race and put on probation until Dec..31.
Both teams had the illegal parts confiscated before Saturday's NRA 500.
Other penalties include six-points race suspensions and probation until Dec..31 for Keselowski's car chief Jerry Kelley, team engineer Brian Wilson and team manager Travis Geisler; and for Logano car chief Raymond Fox and team engineer Samuel Stanley. Geisler serves as manager for both teams.
Penske Racing released a statement saying the teams would appeal the penalties. The loss of points would drop Keselowski from second to fourth in the Sprint Cup standings and Logano from ninth to 14th.
Keselowski, who was honored Tuesday at the White House by President Barack Obama for his 2012 championship, was furious after Saturday's race for having the parts confiscated.
“There's so much stuff going on, you guys have no idea – you have no idea what's going on,” Keselowski told reporters. “I can tell you there is no team in this garage with the integrity of (our) team.
“The way we've been treated over the last seven days is absolute shameful. I feel like we've been targeted over the last seven days more than I've ever seen a team targeted in my life.”
Logano, in his first season with Penske, didn't seem fazed by the penalties and sounded as defiant at Keseselowski.
“We can definitely move ahead,” he told SPEED on Wednesday. “We are ready for that and obviously we have talked a lot about it. Penske Racing has a lot of depth inside the company, and we can make adjustments to make sure we still run well. I think it goes to show, we made some adjustments before the race started and we still were able to come home with a top-five finish. Brad (Keselowski) finished in eighth with a car that was even better than eighth, so we're proud of that effort in Texas and especially, after all of the adversity there. I think it says a lot about our company.”
There were other NASCAR penalties announced Wednesday:
nMartin Truex Jr.'s car failed to meet minimum front-car heights at Texas and has been penalized six driver points and Michael Waltrip Racing six owner points. Crew chief Chad Johnston has been fined $25,000 and is on probation until June 5.
nTruck Series driver Ron Hornaday was fined $25,000, docked 25 points and placed on probation until June 12 for a incident with Darrell Wallace Jr. during Sunday's race at Rockingham. Hornaday will not appeal the penalty.