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Appeals panel upholds penalties to Brad Keselowski’s Penske team

Penalties handed down to Brad Keselowski and his team after Phoenix were upheld on Wednesday, but Team Penske has one final appeal opportunity.

Team Penske lost its appeal Wednesday morning of the penalties to Brad Keselowski’s No. 2 Ford team after its fifth-place finish at Phoenix Raceway.

After hearing the team’s case at the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina, the appeals panel unanimously upheld the loss of 35 points and a $65,000 fine and three-race suspension for crew chief Paul Wolfe.

Penske had argued that NASCAR had erred on grounds of consistency and fairness.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Team Penske announced it would take its case to National Motorsports Final Appeal Officer Bryan Moss.

Wolfe, who sat out the Auto Club Speedway race, would miss the next two races at Bristol Motor Speedway and Richmond International Raceway if Wednesday’s decision is upheld by Moss.

The appeal was heard by veteran Camping World Truck Series driver Rick Crawford, former TV executive Hunter Nickell and Bowman-Gray Stadium operator Dale Pinilis.

Here is the full statement from the panel:

The National Motorsports Appeals Panel today heard and considered an appeal of an L1 level penalty issued on March 22 to Paul Wolfe (crew chief), Team Penske (owner) and Brad Keselowski (driver), relative to the No. 2 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team at Phoenix International Raceway.

The penalty concerns the following sections in the 2017 NASCAR Rule Book: Sections Post-Race General Inspection Measurements.

The original penalty assessed: Wolfe was fined $65,000 and suspended for three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points events; Team Penske was assessed with the loss of 35 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series owner points; Keselowski was assessed with the loss of 35 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver points; and the race finish was encumbered.

Upon hearing the testimony, the decisions of the National Motorsports Appeals Panel are:

  1. The Appellants violated the Rules set forth in the Penalty Notice.

  2. The Panel affirms and upholds the original Penalties assessed by NASCAR.

The panel consisted of the following three individuals:

- Mr. Rick Crawford

- Mr. Hunter Nickell

- Mr. Dale Pinilis

The Appellants have the right to appeal the decision of the National Motorsports Appeals Panel to the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer in accordance with Section 15 of the NASCAR Rule Book.