Three-member panel upholds Phoenix penalty on Penske’s No. 2 team

A three-member National Motorsports Appeal Panel upheld penalties handed down by NASCAR on Penske’s No. 2 team after failing technical inspection following the Monster Energy Cup Series race on March 19 at Phoenix Raceway.

The penalties initially issued on March 22 included a $65,000 fine, a three-race suspension for crew chief Paul Wolfe, a 35-point deduction for Brad Keselowski in the drivers’ standings, as well as an equal points deduction for Roger Penske in the owner points standings.

The three-member panel included Rick Crawford, former driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Hunter Nickell, former president of the SPEED Channel and Dale Pinilis, longtime operator of Bowman Gray Stadium.

Before Team Penske made the decision to appeal, Wolfe sat out one of his three races during the NASCAR weekend at Auto Club Speedway. Brian Wilson served as interim crew chief for Keselowski.

Wolfe returned to the pit box at Martinsville Speedway, where Keselowski and the No. 2 team won their second race of the 2017 season in Penske’s 1,000th NASCAR Premier Series start.

Following the appeal rejection, Wolfe will now be forced to the sidelines for the next two Monster Energy Series events, including April 23 at Bristol Motor Speedway and April 30 at Richmond International Raceway. He’ll return to the team at Talladega Superspeedway.

Team Penske released a statement Wednesday afternoon regarding the appeal ruling, indicating the will request a final appeal:

“While we are disappointed in today’s results, we plan to immediately request a final appeal hearing as outlined in the NASCAR rulebook. While the appeals process runs its course, we will continue to move forward and our focus will remain on getting prepared for the upcoming Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway.”

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