Brad Keselowski, NASCAR driver/AP
Concord, NC (Sports Network) - Penske Racing lost its appeal on Wednesday to overturn severe penalties assessed by NASCAR to Brad Keselowski's No. 2 team and Joey Logano's No. 22 team for illegal parts found on their cars earlier this month at Texas Motor Speedway.
Penske's appeal was heard by the three-member National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel. The hearing began at 9 a.m. ET at NASCAR's Research and Development Center in Concord. The members on the panel included former NASCAR executive Paul Brooks, Pocono Raceway President and CEO Brandon Igdalsky and Bowman Gray Stadium operator Dale Pinilis.
"Based upon on these discussions here today, the panel has unanimously decided to uphold the original penalties that were assessed by NASCAR on April 17," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said shortly after the hearing had concluded.
The penalty included seven members from Penske receiving suspensions from competition and a loss of 25 points for both Keselowski and Logano. Roger Penske, who is listed as the owner of the No. 2 car, and Walt Czarnecki, the owner of the No. 22 car, were also docked 25 points.
Paul Wolfe, who is the crew chief for the No. 2 team, was suspended six points-paying races, as well as the May 18 Sprint All-Star event, and placed on probation until Dec. 31. Wolfe also received a $100,000 fine.
Keselowski's car chief, Jerry Kelley, team engineer, Brian Wilson, and team manager Travis Geisler, who also serves as team manager for the No. 2, were suspended for the next six races as well.
Logano's crew chief, Todd Gordon, received the same penalties as Wolfe. Car chief Raymond Fox and team engineer Samuel Stanley were also suspended for the next six races.
Penske said his racing organization will make a final appeal to National Stock Car Racing Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook, who is a former General Motors executive. The date for that hearing has yet to be scheduled.
"Obviously, it was a disappointing outcome with the panel," Penske said. "We met with the panel for probably over four or five hours. It was a good process. I feel that we have a good case, and as we are allowed to under the NASCAR rules book, we're going to appeal this to the next level. We've already notified NASCAR that we will go ahead and appeal this ruling today."
All suspended members from Penske will be allowed to participate in this weekend's race activities at Talladega Superspeedway.
When NASCAR announced the penalties, it noted the No. 2 and No. 22 cars "were found to be in violation of Sections 12-1; 12-4J 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 normal rotation or suspension travel)."
The violations on both cars were discovered during inspection prior to the start of the April 13 race at Texas.
The Sports Network