NASCAR handed down multiple penalties to four different drivers yesterday and when the news broke, the twitterverse lit up. Tweets full of outrage and anger filled my timeline so quickly that it was hard to keep up.
The biggest outrage seemed to be towards the penalties given to the Penske Racing teams of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano whose cars failed pre-race inspection because of illegal rear end housings. Each team’s Crew Chiefs have been fined $100,000 and suspended for six championship points’ races as well as put on probation until the end of the year. Their team managers, car chiefs, and team engineers have also been suspended for the next six point’s races and put on probation until the end of the year as well. Each driver has lost 25 Championship points and each car owner has lost 25 owner points. The only comment that Penske Racing released in regards to these penalties was that they were going to appeal, and the paperwork has already been filed.
Many people were outraged by the severity of the penalties given to Penske Racing but looking at the penalties given to the No. 48 team at the beginning of the 2012 season, they are very similar; the only difference is the suspension of the team managers (run down of the No.48 penalties here). The No.48 team appealed the penalties and most were overturned, the fine against Knaus was the only penalty that was not overturned.
I can see the same thing happening in the case of these Penske Racing penalties and since both teams have already filed the appropriate paperwork, both Crew Chiefs and the rest of the team will be in full force this weekend at Kansas.
Michael Waltrip Racing driver Martin Truex Jr came so close to winning Saturday’s night race at Texas but found himself coming up a little too short, literally. After post-race inspection, NASCAR announced that the No. 56 car was too low in front. When NASCAR released the penalties for the No. 56 team, they were pretty predictable. Crew Chief Chad Johnston was fined $25,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until June 5, Truex has been docked 6 driver points and Michael Waltrip has been docked 6 owner points. In a statement released by MWR, they said they will not appeal the penalty.
These penalties won’t be very detrimental to the team but the six points could cost Truex Jr. in the end. Remember the points battle between Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards for the Championship in 2011? The six points Truex lost could be the difference between making the Chase and missing out.
The last set of penalties that NASCAR handed down Wednesday was given to NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Ron Hornaday. Hornaday has been penalized by NASCAR following his involvement in an on-track incident on Sunday at Rockingham Speedway. Honaday drives the No. 9 truck and wrecked fellow competitor Darrell Wallace Jr under caution. NASCAR found him in violation of Section 12-1 which is defined as just that, wrecking another competitor under caution. Hornaday has been fined $25,000 and docked 25 championship points and placed on probation until June 12.
His penalty seemed pretty lenient considering this wasn’t the first time someone had been penalized for wrecking someone under caution. Hornaday himself was the victim of Kyle Busch’s rage when Busch wrecked him at Texas under caution in 2011. Busch was immediately parked and suspended. Hornaday’s penalty seemed like a little slap on the wrist compared to Busch’s penalty when in all reality, the incidents were the same.
NASCAR isn’t always consistent when it comes to penalties and fines to drivers and teams, but all in all, I think the ones handed down on Wednesday were right on par with the usual. Expect the Penske Racing penalties to be part of the racing news for the next few weeks as they start the appeals process and see if their outcome is similar to that of the No. 48 team last season.