Reaction: Was Justice Served?

Joey Logano

As most expected the hammer came down hard on Penske for the rear end housings confiscated in Texas that were deemed to not be in the “spirit of the rules.”

NASCAR swung its sword of justice on Wednesday and impacted several teams in the process.

Penske Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and NTS Motorsports were all penalized in various ways for infractions that occurred last weekend in Texas and Rockingham.

As most expected the hammer came down hard on Penske for the rear end housings confiscated in Texas that were deemed to not be in the “spirit of the rules.”

In the aftermath of NASCAR’s ruling, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano lost 25 driver points while crew chiefs Paul Wolfe, Todd Gordon and competition director Travis Geisler were suspended for six races. For good measure several hundred thousands of dollars in fines were also levied.

While Penske has indicated it will appeal the decisions, the team personnel will be allowed to participate in this weekend’s racing in Kansas. That should make for some awkward moments in both the media center and the garage area.

Remember it was Keselowski who cast the first stone last August in Michigan when he called out the Hendrick Motorsports team for using a, shall we say innovative, rear end suspension system.

Yes there’s more than enough irony in the fact NASCAR pegged the Penske crew for rear end issues last weekend.

“There’s part and pieces on the car that are moving after inspection that makes the cars more competitive,” Keselowski said after the Michigan race. “Some guys have it, some don’t. There’s a question as to the interpretation of the rule.

“Penske Racing errs on the safe side because we don’t want to be the guys that get the big penalty.”

Unfortunately the statement did not hold true this week for Roger Penske’s team and there’s been more than one whisper that it was indeed a Hendrick team member who may have tipped off NASCAR officials to take a closer look at the 2 and 22 cars last weekend.

The turn of events was just the latest in a series of controversies for the Penske duo. Logano has been in the spotlight since the start of the season and involved in a number of feuds with the likes of Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart.

Keselowski, who was hailed as a new kind of champion for NASCAR after he won last year’s Sprint Cup title, got called on the carpet during Speedweeks after controversial comments he made about the sport in a USA Today article.

The outspoken Keselowski escaped NASCAR’s wrath again this week when CEO Brian France gave him a pass after his post Texas race tirade telling reporters he’d felt “targeted” for weeks.

It will be interesting to see how the buttoned up Penske deals with all these transgressions internally in the coming days.

The six-point penalty assessed to Martin Truex Jr. for the NAPA Toyota being found too low in Texas post race inspection was also anticipated. That’s been the NASCAR standard for such an infraction and although crew chief Chad Johnston claimed the problem came from debris damage to the shock, Michael Waltrip Racing will not appeal the decision.

Nor will NTS Motorsports after the 25-point penalty and $25,000 fine levied to Ron Hornaday after his dust-up with Darrell Wallace Jr. in Sunday’s Camping World Truck Series Rockingham race. There are most likely some inside the organization, including Hornaday himself, who are relieved by that determination.

There was a distinct possibility Hornaday was going to be parked for Saturday’s Kansas race for dumping Wallace while under caution at The Rock. But despite Hornaday being on the receiving end of a similar move from Kyle Busch two years ago in Texas that led to NASCAR suspending Busch, the four-time champion will be behind the wheel this weekend.

However he did not get off easy by any means.

The penalty will drop Hornaday from fourth in the series standings to 13th, 55 points behind leader Johnny Sauter, which may not have ended his title quest but sure made it much more of a challenge. And while $25,000 may not sound like a lot to a millionaire Sprint Cup Series star, it’s a pretty good shot to a truck series driver’s bank account.

There is clearly one winner when a week comes around like this one and that’s the NASCAR Foundation, which will see its charitable account balance grow while teams empty their checkbooks.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Motor Racing Network.

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