NASCAR issued penalties to two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers following the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. The strongest consequences were for Matt Kenseth, officially suspended from NASCAR competition through the completion of the next two races. Kenseth was popped with a behavioral penalty for violating sections 12.1 and 12.8 of the NASCAR rulebook, intentionally wrecking Joey Logano in the closing laps of that Sprint Cup event. The Wisconsin driver will also be placed on NASCAR probation over the next six months for his behavior.
Officials issued the following statement through executive vice president Steve O’Donnell:
“Based upon our extensive review, we have concluded that the No. 20 car driver, who is no longer in the Chase, intentionally wrecked the No. 22 car driver, a Chase-eligible competitor who was leading the race at the time. The No. 20 car was nine laps down and eliminated the No. 22 car’s opportunity to continue to compete in the race. Additionally, we factored aspects of safety into our decision, and also the fact that the new Chase elimination format puts a premium on each and every race. These actions have no place in NASCAR.”
Joe Gibbs Racing will appeal the ruling, already scheduled to be held in front of a three-member panel Thursday at 9:00 a.m. ET.
“The appeal will challenge the severity of the penalty which is believed to be inconsistent with previous penalties for similar on-track incidents,” the team said in a statement. “There will be no further comments from JGR personnel during the appeal process.”
Danica Patrick has also been popped with a behavioral penalty that occurred during the race Sunday. Patrick has been fined $50,000 for violating sections 12.1 and 12.8, a response to intentional contact involving David Gilliland at Martinsville. Patrick has also been docked 25 driver points and will be placed on probation through December 31.