Panel upholds penalty on Penske's No. 2 team
A three-member appeals panel upheld L1-grade penalties Wednesday against Team Penske's No. 2 Ford team for failing technical inspection after the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on March 19 at Phoenix Raceway. The ruling by the National Motorsports Appeal Panel confirms the penalty issued by NASCAR on March 22, fining the team $65,000, handing a three-race suspension to crew chief Paul Wolfe, and docking Brad Keselowski 35 points in the drivers' standings and Roger Penske an equal point total in the team owners' standings. Wednesday afternoon, Team Penske issued a statement saying that it will exercise its right to appeal the ruling to the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer, Bryan Moss. NASCAR representatives said that a date for the final appeal hearing has not been set. "While we are disappointed in today's results, we plan to immediately request a final appeal hearing as outlined in the NASCAR rulebook," the team said in its statement. "While the appeals process runs its course, we will continue to move forward and our focus will remain on getting prepared for the upcoming Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway." Wolfe has already served one race of his three-race ban, sitting out the March 26 event at Auto Club Speedway. Team Penske had delayed its appeal request until after the Auto Club race to provide an opportunity to further inspect its Phoenix vehicle at its Mooresville, North Carolina, shop. Brian Wilson replaced Wolfe at Auto Club, leading the No. 2 team to a second-place finish. Wolfe returned -- with the appeal pending -- the following weekend at Martinsville Speedway, where Keselowski scored his second victory of the season. A representative for Team Penske said that Wolfe would continue in his current role as the organization awaited a final appeal date to be determined. The Monster Energy Series is off this weekend, with the next scheduled event on April 23 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Team Penske's penalty fell under the heading of Section 220.127.116.11.2 of the 2017 NASCAR Rule Book, which addresses general measurements (in this instance, rear steer) in the team's post-race pass through the Laser Inspection Station (LIS). The three members of the National Motorsports Appeal Panel attending Wednesday's hearing were: -- Rick Crawford, former driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series -- Hunter Nickell, former president of the SPEED Channel -- Dale Pinilis, longtime operator of Bowman Gray Stadium
Team Penske appeal hearing set for April 12
Team Penske's appeal of a rules violation and subsequent penalties against driver Brad Keselowski, crew chief Paul Wolfe and the No. 2 team will be heard April 12 by three members of the National Motorsports Appeals Panel, according to a NASCAR official. The No. 2 team failed post-race inspection following last month's Camping World 500 at Phoenix Raceway. Wolfe was fined $65,000 and suspended for three races. Keselowski was assessed with the loss of 35 driver points and Penske lost 35 car owner points. The organization, which fields entries in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for Keselowski and teammate Joey Logano, delayed its request for an appeal until it had the opportunity to inspect the Phoenix entry at its Mooresville, North Carolina, headquarters. Wolfe was replaced by interim crew chief Brian Wilson at Auto Club Speedway for the Auto Club 400 the following week, where Keselowski finished second. It subsequently filed notice of an appeal and requested the penalties be deferred until the results of the appeal were determined. That deferral was granted, and Wolfe returned to the pit box for last week's STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway, where Keselowski scored his second win of the season. MORE: Penske appeal allows Wolfe to lead Kes to victory " No. 2 team penalized The team was penalized under Sections 18.104.22.168.1 of the NASCAR rule book for failing post-race rear steer on the Laser Inspection Station (LIS). The L1 level penalty calls for the finish to be encumbered, meaning any bonus points earned would not be eligible toward use in the playoffs. Keselowski finished fifth in the Phoenix race last month. Team owner Roger Penske addressed the decision to file an appeal following Keselowski's Martinsville victory. "Look, I need him on that box every weekend," Penske said of Wolfe. "I told him I'd pay him to be on that box every weekend not to be sitting in his motor home looking at a bunch of monitors. "But … really the strategy was that we'd take a race off last week (at ACS) and then make the appeal and I guess we'll be coming back here (to Martinsville) so it was good to get the experience here on this track, obviously, because it'll be in the (playoffs)."
Team Penske's final appeal pushed to May 9
RELATED: No. 2 team penalized after Phoenix infraction The date for Team Penske's final appeal of L1-level penalties has been pushed back. NASCAR officials said the hearing is now scheduled for 7:45 a.m. ET on Tuesday, May 9 at the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina. It previously had been scheduled for April 26. Bryan Moss, the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer, will preside over the hearing. The session will determine the final outcome of penalties issued March 22 to the Roger Penske -owned No. 2 Ford team after the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway. Team Penske filed the paperwork for a final appeal April 13, one day after the three-member National Motorsports Appeal Panel upheld the original penalties. That punishment included a three-race suspension for crew chief Paul Wolfe and a 35-point deduction for Brad Keselowski in the drivers' standings and the same amount for Penske in the owners' standings. With the appeal pending, Wolfe was atop the pit box for this week's Food City 500 at Bristol. He has the opportunity to manage the race again this weekend at Richmond and the following week at Talladega. Wolfe already has served one race of his three-race suspension, handing over the helm to Brian Wilson for the March 26 race at Auto Club Speedway. Moss, the former president at Gulfstream Aerospace, has held the role of National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer since 2014. His ruling on April 26 will be final. The burden of proof will rest with Team Penske in the final appeal process. In the initial hearing, the burden of proof rested with NASCAR. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;&lt;span _rtetemp=&quot;spchk&quot; style=&quot;background-color: #ffffaa;&quot; _rtespchksugg=&quot;Lt"alt"ult"flt"let"lit"lat"lot"ltd"t&quot;&gt;am&lt;/span&gt;p;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Team Penske No. 2 final appeal to be heard Tuesday
The final appeal for Team Penske ’s L1-level penalties will be heard Tuesday at the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina. Roger Werner, chairman of ACCUS, will serve as the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer over the appeal. Bryan Moss is unavailable to serve in that capacity Tuesday. The session will determine the final outcome of penalties issued March 22 to the Roger Penske -owned No. 2 Ford team after the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. Team Penske filed the paperwork for a final appeal April 13, one day after the three-member National Motorsports Appeal Panel upheld the original penalties. That penalty included a three-race suspension for crew chief Paul Wolfe and a 35-point deduction for Brad Keselowski in the drivers' standings and the same amount for Penske in the owners' standings.
Team Penske to appeal Phoenix penalties on No. 2 team
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Martinsville Officials with Team Penske announced in a statement that the organization will appeal penalties handed down to the No. 2 team and driver Brad Keselowski following the March 19 race at Phoenix Raceway. According to the NASCAR penalty report issued last week, the No. 2 team failed the post-race rear wheel steer on the LIS (Laser Inspection Station) following the Camping World 500. NASCAR fined Wolfe $65,000 and suspended him from three Monster Energy Series races while Keselowski and the No. 2 team were docked 35 driver and owner points, respectively. Wolfe sat out last week's race at Auto Club, in which Keselowski finished second, but will be on the pit box in Martinsville. "After having the opportunity to review the facts, Team Penske has decided to appeal the penalties following the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race in Phoenix," the team announced in a statement. "We have requested an appeal hearing and we plan to follow the process as outlined in the NASCAR rulebook. The appeals administration has granted our request to defer the two races remaining on Paul Wolfe's suspension until the results of our appeal are known." The 2012 series champion, Keselowski already has one victory this season (Atlanta), putting him in line for one of the 16 spots for this year's playoff field. -- Kenny Bruce contributed to this story
Cain: Penske , Ganassi battling for early season supremacy
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Texas Chip Ganassi Racing's Kyle Larson leads the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings for the third consecutive week. Roger Penske's driver Brad Keselowski collected his second race trophy of the year on Sunday -- the first multi-time winner of the season. Chip Ganassi Racing driver Jamie McMurray is enjoying the best six-race start of his Daytona 500-winning career -- ranked ninth in the standings entering this weekend's race at Texas, despite a crash last week at Martinsville. Penske driver Joey Logano is fifth in the standings with a pole position at Phoenix and five top-six finishes through six races -- top-five showings in both the last two weeks. 2017 Stats: Logano " Keselowski " Larson " McMurray While these two great racing organizations -- Chevy's Ganassi and Ford's Penske -- have long settled trophies and championships between themselves in the open-wheel ranks, simultaneously leading the way in NASCAR is a relatively uncommon development. But certainly not unforeseen. And what makes this situation even more interesting is that these are two-car teams -- not the four-car mega-organizations like Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing or Stewart-Haas Racing, which have more frequently visited winner's circles and hoisted the champion’s hardware. Kurt Busch's dramatic final lap win in the Daytona 500 is the only victory thus far in 2017 for the three four-car teams that have dominated the landscape in recent years. Sure it’s early in the season, but the standings look as diverse as they ever have. Entering Sunday's O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (1:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), Furniture Row Racing's two drivers -- Martin Truex Jr. and rookie Erik Jones are both ranked among the top-13 and Truex has a win. Wood Brothers Racing driver Ryan Blaney -- a one-car operation with support from Penske -- is ranked seventh. RELATED: See the full standings " Who's earned the most stage points? Meanwhile, the larger teams are having an uncharacteristically and decidedly slower start to the year. Second-year driver Chase Elliott, 21, is setting the standard at Hendrick -- winless, but only four points behind the 24-year old Larson in the standings. Elliott's the only driver ranked among the top-five not from a two-car team and his three veteran teammates have ground you'd expect them to make up points-wise. Hendrick's Kasey Kahne is ranked 12th , reigning seven-time Monster Energy Series champion Jimmie Johnson is 14th and Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 25th -- a hefty 169 points behind Larson. No Hendrick driver has won a race in 2017. RELATED: Junior weighs in on slow start to 2017 Kyle Busch is leading the way for Joe Gibbs Racing -- ranked sixth, 80 points behind Larson. His teammate Denny Hamlin is 16th in the standings. Rookie Daniel Suarez is 21st and former champion Matt Kenseth is 22nd -- with three finishes of 36th or worse. No Gibbs driver has hoisted the hardware in 2017 either. Stewart-Haas' newest driver Clint Bowyer has been a bright light for Stewart-Haas outside of Busch's Daytona 500 win. Bowyer is ranked eighth -- his highest place atop the standings since he finished seventh in the 2015 season-opening Daytona 500. The last time he was ranked among the top-10 outside of Daytona was in 2014. Bowyer's teammate, 2014 Monster Energy Series champion Kevin Harvick is 10th in the standings with three finishes of 20th or worse through the opening six races. He was leading the standings at this time the past two seasons. After winning the Daytona 500 and finishing seventh the next week at Atlanta, Kurt Busch has suffered through four consecutive showings of 24th place or worse and has fallen to 19th in the points standings. His teammate Danica Patrick is ranked 29th. Her 17th place showing at Atlanta last month is the only top-20 for her so far this season. Yes, it's early in the year. And drivers such as Johnson -- a six-time winner at this week's Texas venue, Kyle Busch, Harvick and Hamlin are traditional trophy sure-bets. But the Ganassi and Penske organizations know a little something about winning championships too. And so far, they are well-positioned to make a run at the mega-teams who are less accustomed to playing catch-up, even this early in the season. Both Ganassi and Penske are among the most respected, decorated and competitive people in the garage with records and statistics to verify the stature -- in NASCAR and beyond. Ganassi holds the record for most Rolex 24 at Daytona wins (six), has won the 12 Hours of Sebring and won in class at the 24 Hours of LeMans in addition to his 11 IndyCar season titles and four Indy 500 wins. Penske is the reigning IndyCar champion team owner -- for the 14th time -- and has an incredible 16 Indy 500 wins in addition to his 2012 NASCAR title (Keselowski) and two Daytona 500 wins (Ryan Newman in 2008 and Logano in 2015). How many people would have predicted that come the second week of April either the Hendrick or Gibbs organizations would be winless? RELATED: NASCAR executive says more drivers have an opportunity to win But it's a reflection as much on the other teams -- Ganassi, Penske , Furniture Row, Wood Brothers and Richard Childress -- who have picked up the pace. The situation shows off NASCAR's talent diversity and speaks volumes about the ever-increasing intrigue and all around competitive level. Everyone's raising their game. And the big winner is the fan. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p
Penske's appeal allows Wolfe to lead Keselowski to Martinsville victory
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Texas RELATED: Keselowski wins at Martinsville " No. 2 crew on the win MARTINSVILLE, Va. – It didn't take long for a decision to appeal a post-race penalty handed down to the No. 2 Team Penske Team to pay dividends. Driver Brad Keselowski's appearance in Victory Lane on Sunday following the STP 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race was proof enough of that. So, too, it seems, was crew chief Paul Wolfe's attendance on the team's pit box. "Look, I need him on that box every weekend," team owner Roger Penske said of Wolfe. "I told him I'd pay him to be on that box every weekend, not to be sitting in his motor home looking at a bunch of monitors. "But … really the strategy was that we'd take a race off last week and then make the appeal and I guess we'll be coming back here. … So it was good to get the experience here on this track, obviously, because it'll be in the Chase." The No. 2 team failed post-race inspection following last month's Camping World 500 at Phoenix Raceway. As a result, Wolfe was fined $65,000 and suspended for three races. Keselowski was assessed with the loss of 35 driver points and Penske 35 car owner points. RELATED: Keselowski penalized after Phoenix No decision on filing an appeal was made until the team had the opportunity to inspect the car at its headquarters in Mooresville, North Carolina. In the meantime, Brian Wilson served as the team's interim crew chief at Auto Club Speedway. Keselowski rallied from early problems to finish second in the Auto Club 400. Wednesday, two days before the start of the Martinsville race weekend, Team Penske officials announced they had requested an appeal hearing and to defer the two remaining races of Wolfe's suspension "until the results of our appeal are known." "It's tough when you're not there," Wolfe said Sunday evening. "You try to communicate the best with the guys, but there's that little bit that you miss when you're just not sitting on the box and being able to communicate with Brad during the race. "It's tough not being there, and that's part of why ‑‑ that's the penalty they hand down, because they know it is. I'm just proud of the effort today. It was a good way to come back after not being on the box last week." Keselowski, the 2012 series champion, said he hadn't considered how he might have fared Sunday without the services of Wolfe. "Who knows?" he said. "I ain't thinking about that; I'm just glad I got a checkered flag and a clock."
Melding Team Penske and SHR forges a stronger Ford
RELATED: Race recap " Results " Standings It isn't unprecedented, but it is impressive. For the first time since 2009, and only the second since 1992, Ford teams have won the season's first two races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Meanwhile, six of the top 10 drivers in the point standings come from the Ford camp and this year's two winners -- Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski -- have put themselves squarely in line for the season-ending 10-race playoffs. Granted, winning early and often isn't unusual -- Chevrolet teams won the first three races of the 2010 season and a whopping 13 of 14 out of the gate in '07. Three of the past five seasons have seen a more balanced beginning with each of the three manufacturers -- Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota -- winning one of the first three races in various orders. It's ridiculously early to be calling anything a trend. The two season-opening Ford wins in '09 didn't portend of great things for the company that year -- only one more win came its way the remainder of the season. But the past year or so has provided much in the way of Ford's renewed commitment to NASCAR as part of the Ford Performance program. Meanwhile, the early returns on the addition of Stewart-Haas Racing to the fold have been nothing but positive. In addition to Busch's Daytona 500 victory, Kevin Harvick managed everything but collecting the trophy in Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta. Harvick won the first two stages and led all but 33 laps of the 325-lap race. Both Busch and Harvick compete for SHR. Team Penske has shouldered the majority of the workload for Ford in recent seasons while Roush Fenway Racing tries to re-establish itself as a contender. They aren't the only kids on the Ford block, just the two most successful. But with SHR so competitive so soon, it's hard not to notice. "We're racers," Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition for SHR, told NASCAR.com. "We're old-school racers. Our guys have worked hard to get everything done; I know everyone says that, but they worked long hours and they did it every day" to complete the switch from Chevrolet to Ford. MORE: Harvick tops Stages 1, 2 " No win, but plenty of success for Harvic k SHR fields four cars at NASCAR's top level for drivers Harvick, Busch, Clint Bowyer and Danica Patrick. The organization also added one full-time and one part-time XFINITY Series team this year. More than 100 new employees were added as SHR began building its own chassis and various other machine-shop items. "And anytime you add people, you don't know how long it will take for everyone to get settled and things start to flow," Zipadelli said. Team Penske has ruled the Ford roost from almost the time it left Dodge after a championship season in 2012. The majority of the 14 Ford victories in 2014 came from Team Penske drivers Keselowski and Joey Logano; the following year all seven Ford victories came from Team Penske ; and a year ago it was seven of eight. Close-knit alliances often result in improved results on the track for all parties. Toyota-branded Furniture Row Racing obviously benefited from its association with Joe Gibbs Racing last season and should do so again this year; the SHR/Hendrick pipeline saw two drivers win titles in a three-year period with Harvick in '14 and Jimmie Johnson last season. Team Penske has stayed to itself, going it alone, however. "We pretty much played by ourselves, and I think that that's made us much stronger," said team owner Roger Penske . But he said he realizes the advantages of working alongside a fellow "branded" organization, and SHR has provided that opportunity. "We knew coming in with Stewart‑Haas that they were going to be guys that could set a bar for us," Penske said. "In fact, we built some chassis for them before Daytona, some center sections, and we had our cars in the wind tunnel and compared them. So we know what they have and they know what we have." Seeing an increase in the number of Ford teams running out front and in the top five is a good sign for those organizations. Perhaps the competitive gap has narrowed a bit. "You know how strong the Toyotas have been and the Chevys have been," Penske said. "This gives (Ford teams) at least a chance to say we're on par with these guys. Now, with a couple of wins I'd have to say we might be an inch or two ahead." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Team Penske mulling appeal; SHR formally files
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary RELATED: Nos. 2, 4 teams penalized after violations at Phoenix Officials with Team Penske have not determined if the organization will appeal penalties handed down to the No. 2 team and driver Brad Keselowski on Wednesday, according to a statement from the team . Stewart-Haas Racing, meanwhile, announced it would appeal the penalty for the No. 4 team of Kevin Harvick. Team Penske also announced that Brian Wilson will serve as interim crew chief this weekend, replacing Paul Wolfe, when the series visits Auto Club Speedway for Sunday's running of the Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "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," Team Penske officials said in the statement. "The race cars returned to the race shop today (Wednesday) 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." NASCAR fined Wolfe $65,000 and suspended him for the next three Monster Energy Cup Series races (Auto Club, Martinsville and Texas), while Keselowski and the No. 2 team were docked 35 driver and owner points respectively. According to the NASCAR penalty report issued Wednesday, the No. 2 team failed the post-race rear wheel steer on the LIS (Laser Inspection Station) following last Sunday’s Camping World 500 at Phoenix. RELATED: Details on NASCAR's deterrence system The points deduction dropped Keselowski from second to fourth in the standings after four of this year's 36 points races. The 2012 series champion already has one victory this season, however, putting him in line for one of the 16 spots for this year's playoff field. Wilson is the former lead engineer for Keselowski's No. 2 team . He served as crew chief of the No. 22 Team Penske XFINITY Series entry last season for 24 races, and was atop the pit box helping guide the No. 22 team to the win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with driver Joey Logano earlier this season. • According to SHR officials, the organization "has officially requested an appeal hearing regarding the penalties … and have also requested a deferral of the penalties until the appeal process is complete." The request for appeal means that crew chief Rodney Childers will be allowed to participate in this weekend's race activities at Auto Club. Childers was suspended for one race and fined $25,000 while driver Kevin Harvick and the team were assessed with the loss of 10 driver and team owner points, respectively, due to the use of an unapproved track bar slider in Sunday's race at Phoenix.
Logano, crew chief, Shell/Pennzoil re-sign with Team Penske
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! RELATED: Logano nabs victory in 'The Clash' DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Legendary team owner Roger Penske announced Friday a multi-year contract extension with driver Joey Logano , his crew chief Todd Gordon and the Shell/Pennzoil brand that will go through the year 2022 and beyond. The Team Penske namesake emphasized the special nature of the long-term and global business-to-business partnership and especially the example his team has set for the sport in its affiliation with Shell/Pennzoil. "It gave us a chance to combine the business side and also we've used motorsports as a common thread," Penske said. "We're trying to create some value of competitiveness in our business. "For us to say we have a partnership with Shell beyond 2022 is massive for us, not just here but across the business. We've got Joey Logano for the same period and we have Todd Gordon, we think this is one of the biggest announcements in motorsports today. When you talk about the health of the sport, we consider this a watershed time." "This is 30-plus races per year," Penske continued. "We're not going to be changing the logos on the car every other week. This isn't just an announcement about a sponsor, it's about a business relationship … quite honestly it's the foundation of our whole business." Logano was equally as enthused about this opportunity, acknowledging both the rarity of such a long-term contract and the promise the move makes. "It's an amazing honor and opportunity for me," Logano said. "Obviously signing with Team Penske is a huge change in my career. I've learned to surround myself with greatness, people 'smarter than you.' When you think about 22 team and how close we’'ve grown together -- it's a huge advantage for us as a race team to keep the continuity. "I'm very fortunate and exited about this. This was one of those decisions that was a no-brainer. A lot of pressure comes along with this. … I love pressure. Pressure is a privilege and it honestly is a privilege to have this opportunity to race for Roger Penske and Shell and Pennzoil. "(The) fact it all goes together is unheard of. It's a very positive story in our sport to see the commitment of Shell and Pennzoil. It really sets a statement for not only Team Penske but NASCAR as a sport." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
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