Penske Racing teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have been hit with a 25-point penalty, and their crew chiefs will be suspended for six races after their cars failed a pre-race inspection.
The Associated Press' Jenna Fryer tweeted the news:
#NASCAR penalizes Keselowski and Logano 25 points each, crew chiefs suspended 6 races and fined $100k each— Jenna Fryer (@JennaFryer) April 17, 2013
This is a huge blow to both drivers and the Penske team. Defending Sprint Cup champion Keselowski will drop from second to fourth in the points standings and 34 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson.
Teammate Logano will tumble from ninth to 14th in the standings.
Given this post-race interview at last week's Sprint event at the Texas Motor Speedway, I think it is safe to say that Keselowski will not be happy about this penalty.
Both the No. 2 and No. 22 cars had to change the rear-end housing after failing the pre-race inspection.
NASCAR also announced the penalties on its official website, and offered up the rule that was violated:
Both cars were found to be in violation of Sections 12-1; 12-4J and 20-12 (all suspension systems and components must be approved by NASCAR. Prior to being used in competition, all suspension systems and components must be submitted, in a completed form/assembly, to the office of the NASCAR Competition Administrator for consideration of approval and approved by NASCAR. Each such part may thereafter be used until NASCAR determines that such part is no longer eligible. All suspension fasteners and mounting hardware must be made of solid magnetic steel. All front end and rear end suspension mounts with mounting hardware assembled must have single round mounting holes that are the correct size for the fastener being used. All front end and rear end suspension mounts and mounting hardware must not allow movement or realignment of any suspension component beyond normal rotation or suspension travel.)
Specifics on which part of this rule the Penske teams were in violation of were not made available.
Keselowski's crew chief, Paul Wolfe, and Logano's crew chief, Todd Gordon, as NASCAR details in the above link, will also have to pay a $100,000 fine to go with their suspension and will be placed on probation until Dec. 31.
Also, Keselowski's car chief, Jerry Kelley, and team engineer, Brian Wilson, along with Logano's car chief, Raymond Fox, and team engineer, Samuel Stanley, and team manager for both, Travis Geisler, will be suspended for the next six Sprint Cup Series points events and be placed on probation until Dec. 31.
While this puts both teams in a big hole, it is not something they can't overcome. Especially for Keselowski who is not even out of position to make the Chase.
It will be interesting to see how these developments play into his attitude, and if this will derail his focus.