NASCAR’s farcical penalties
I have a hard time understanding the ways and means of NASCAR. Particularly in regard to penalties and especially after last weekend’s technical difficulties with Penske Racing’s No. 2 and No. 22 NASCAR Sprint Cup Ford Fusion race cars.
As anyone that hasn’t been under a stone for the past week or so knows, after the race in which he and teammate Joey Logano finished inside the top 10 despite having to start to the back when NASCAR forced their teams to make very late adjustments to the rear suspensions of their cars, Brad Keselowski accused NASCAR of beating on Penske Racing and singling them out. For this, he received no disciplinary action (unlike Denny Hamlin’s citing of difficulties tuning the new Gen 6 race car).
On Wednesday, NASCAR handed out penalties to the teams involved. This is what NASCAR said:
“Both 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.)”
As a result, No. 2 crew chief Paul Wolfe has been fined $100,000 and suspended from NASCAR until the completion of the next six NSCS races (including the Sprint All-Star race). He’s been placed on probation until the close of the year. No. 2 car chief Jerry Kelley, team engineer Brian Wilson and team manager Travis Geisler (team manager for both the No. 2 and No. 22) are suspended for the next six races and on probation until December 31.
No. 22 crew chief Todd Gordon got the same penalties as Wolfe and his counterparts, car chief Raymond Fox and team engineer Samuel Stanley are suspended for six races and also on probation until the close of the year.
Additionally, the No. 2 lost 25 championship driver points (Keselowski) and 25 owner points for Roger Penske. The No. 22’s driver, Joey Logano also lost 25 points as did his owner, Walt Czarnecki.
These were very strong penalties for the two Cup teams from Penske Racing. At the same time, Martin Truex Jr, whose No. 56 Toyota Camry race car failed to meet the minimum front car height during post-race inspection lost six points and his Michael Waltrip Racing crew chief, Chad Johnston was fined $25,000 and placed on probation until June 5th.
On the other hand, after former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr, who got bunted under caution by Kyle Busch in a truck race at Texas in 2011, giving that driver a ban from racing in both the Nationwide and Cup Series events the same weekend, managed to wreck fellow driver Darrell Wallace Jr under a caution flag during the NCWTS race at Rockingham Speedway last Sunday. Hornaday received a 25-point penalty, was docked $25,000 and remains on probation through June 11th of this year – that’s all!
I don’t know about you but I find NASCAR’s reaction to Hornaday’s purposeful bunt of Wallace Jr ridiculous. The incident was just as bad as Rowdy Busch’s punting of Hornaday, after which the victim whined for at least a week about the incident. Wallace has warned the former champ there could be retaliation, but I’m sure NASCAR will, once again back Hornaday’s play. I don’t think that’s right but it’s just my opinion; I could be wrong.
By Anne Proffit