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April 18, 2013

Wolfe suspended as NASCAR slams Penske

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — NASCAR came down hard with far-reaching penalties against Penske Racing on Wednesday, with six-race suspensions for seven crew members of defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski and teammate Joey Logano along with $200,000 in fines for bringing unapproved parts to Texas Motor Speedway for last weekend’s race.

Each driver and car owner was docked 25 championship points, dropping Keselowski from second to fourth in the Cup standings and Logano from ninth 14th.

Along with the $100,000 fine they each got, Keselowski crew chief Paul Wolfe and Logano crew chief Todd Gordon were suspended for the next six championship points races and placed on probation for the rest of the calendar year. Wolfe is a Milford native who has helped Keselowski win points titles on the Nationwide and Sprint Cup circuits.

Also suspended and put on probation were Travis Geisler, who serves as team manager for both cars, and the individual car chiefs and team engineers for the two cars.

NASCAR also announced penalties for Martin Truex Jr. and Ron Hornaday Jr., but neither was as steep as those against the Penske cars.

Penske Racing vowed to appeal, a move that would put any suspensions on hold.

“Penske Racing will appeal utilizing the appropriate NASCAR process,” the team said. “We have no further comment at this time.”

NASCAR inspectors confiscated the original rear-end housing with suspension parts from Keselowski’s No. 2 Ford and Logano’s No. 22 before Saturday night’s race, causing a pre-race scramble for both teams. Logano was late to the starting grid because of additional inspections and had to start at the back of the field. He recovered to finish fifth and Keselowski was ninth.

Keselowski was livid following the race.

“The things I’ve seen over the last seven days have me questioning everything that I believe in, and I’m not happy about it,” Keselowski said. “I have one good thing to say, and that was my team and the effort they put in today, in fighting back with the absolute (expletive) that’s been the last seven days in this garage area.”

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