This Tuesday has been an interesting day for the racing community to say the least with three important stories unfolding that and I’m about to go into for those of you that are out of the loop. We had everything from penalty reductions for Penske Racing, Brad Keselowski apologizing to Talladega Winner David Ragan and NASCAR deciding that they will not fine Ryan Newman for his incensed comments following his scary wreck last Sunday. The reduction shocked me, the apology surprised me and leaving Ryan alone confused me….just another day in the life of a NASCAR fan I guess!
Penske Penalty Reduction
In a decision that surprised a lot of people including myself, Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook reduced the Penske Racing penalties earlier today. He reduced the suspensions for the 7 crew members by four weeks making the total length of suspension just two races plus the All-Star Race. In all, they will miss the Southern 500 at Darlington, the Coke 600 and the All-Star Race both held at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He left the rest of the penalties including the points and fines intact.
John Middlebrook: “After looking at all the facts and data and interpretations from the rule book, I have decided to uphold the original fines and points penalties. However, I have decided to reduce the suspensions of the seven team members involved from six points races and the all-star race to two points races and the all-star race.”
Roger Penske: “I think it was fair and equitable,” Penske said. “After consideration by John Middlebrook, he felt the fines and penalties were overreaching and made the decision to reduce it. It was a good outcome for everyone. We’re going to move on.”
Brad Keselowski Apologizes To David Ragan
Brad Keselowski was furious following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega stating that eventual race winner David Ragan, Scott Speed and himself were put in the wrong restarting positions.
Brad’s Apology: “I finally had a chance to digest what happened at the end of the Cup race at Talladega on Sunday. I owe David Ragan and his fans an apology. I placed blame on David Ragan for the restart lineup confusion when it wasn’t his fault.
I was very passionate about the finish because I thought we had a chance to win the race if I restarted the race in the 10th position instead of ninth. Passion is a very important characteristic to a champion driver. That passion is not something I will apologize for. The outside line – the 10th spot, in particular – was a huge advantage over the 9th position. David executed that positioning perfectly for the win.
I know first-hand what it’s like to take a lower-budget team victory lane. My comments were never to detract from their victory. They were only to express my opinion that I thought we had been wronged.
Basically what happened is that, when the yellow came out at lap 184 the lineup was supposed to be Scott Speed, myself and David. We were actually lined up David, Scott and me because we were unsure what the lineup was. NASCAR did not change this before opening pit road so by procedure we were lined up in the proper positions. NASCAR made a last-minute lineup change that we missed as we were getting ready to go back to green. David attempted to make it right by letting me go at the start/finish line with one to go. I thought he was attempting to change the pylon because the order is supposed to be set before pit road opens.
With the multi-car wreck, the rain and the impending darkness it is easy to see how NASCAR could have made that mistake.
It was a confusing time for all of us. I want to send a sincere congratulation out to David Ragan and everyone at Front Row Motorsports. It was a very cool win for our sport.”
David Ragan Response: “I’ve got a lot of respect for Brad. He’s always been a friend but I was a little disappointed when I read what he had to say. I feel like he was in the wrong and we were in the right. But I’m glad he sees how we feel now. It’s pretty neat we can agree on things and move on. We all live and learn. So we’re all squared away and it’s all in the past.”
NASCAR Will Not Take Action Against Ryan Newman
NASCAR decided not to penalize Ryan Newman for his post-race tirade at Talladega following his vicious wreck with just a few laps remaining. NASCAR penalized Denny Hamlin after Phoenix because he made negative comments regarding the way the Gen-6 raced but they seem to be fine with Newman and Keselowski attacking the sanctioning body itself as long as they leave the on track product alone.
Ryan Newman Comments: “They can build safer race cars, they can build safer walls. But they can’t get their heads out of their asses far enough to keep them on the race track, and that’s pretty disappointing. I wanted to make sure I get that point across. Y’all can figure out who ‘they’ is. (NASCAR) That’s no way to end a race. Our car was much better than that. That’s just poor judgment in restarting the race, poor judgment … I mean, you got what you wanted but poor judgment and running in the dark and running in the rain. That’s it, thank you.”
NASCAR Spokesmen Kerry Tharp: “We disagree with the comments that he made, I’ll tell you that right now. We believe he kind of pushed the edge on that in his comments. He wasn’t critical of the racing product so that (is the reason for) the decision not to fine him.”