On Tuesday morning, Team Penske lost their final appeal of penalties assessed following the Camping World 500k in March at Phoenix after a four-hour hearing. As a result, Paul Wolfe, crew chief of Brad Keselowski‘s No. 2 Ford, has had his three-race suspension reinstated. In addition, the 35 driver and 35 owner point penalties and the $65,000 fine will stand.
The penalties stemmed from post-race inspection, where Keselowski’s No. 2 was found to have too much rear skew (greater than the 0.56 degrees that NASCAR has allotted for natural tolerance). The penalty was designated an L1-penalty under NASCAR’s revamped Deterrence System.
The final appeal was originally scheduled for Apr. 26. However, National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer Bryan Moss was sick at the time and could not attend. On Tuesday, Moss was unavailable once again. Instead of postponing the hearing a second time, an alternate officer was designated. That officer was Roger Werner, Chairman of the Automobile Competition Committee for the United States (ACCUS). ACCUS is rarely mentioned in racing circles, but they are the official representatives of American racing to the FIA.
Team Penske was not necessarily pleased with the result of the hearing. However, they have to accept the ruling.
“We are disappointed in the outcome of today’s final appeal hearing,” the team stated in a press release. “While we appreciate the process that NASCAR and the National Motorsports Appeals Panel has put in place to resolve issues like this, we felt like the penalties received following the March event at Phoenix were unjust. Brian Wilson will once again serve as Brad Keselowski’s crew chief this weekend at Kansas Speedway. We’re happy to finally have this behind us as the No. 2 team focuses its efforts on another Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship.”
Since Wolfe has already voluntarily sat out two of the three races that he was suspended (including Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega), he will only have to miss this weekend’s Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway. Wolfe will be back on the pit box for the Monster Energy All-Star Race on May 20.