The next step is a hearing before NASCAR's chief appellate officer John Middlebrook, a former General Motors executive who serves for a nominal $1 a year. His decision is final. Tharp said Penske's final appeal would be held next Tuesday, after earlier saying it would be scheduled as "quickly and expeditiously as possible," and that the team suspensions would be deferred until after that hearing had taken place.
Since the current appeals process was introduced, some 70 per cent of the 150 appeals that have been heard have been upheld in NASCAR' favour, including today's ruling. However, Middlebrook did overturn comparable penalties on the #48 team of Jimmie Johnson and crew chief last year on a final appeal for a rules infraction at the Daytona 500.
Joe Gibbs Racing's appeal for having an underweight connecting rod in Matt Kenseth's race-winning engine at Kansas will be heard next Wednesday by a different three-man panel. NASCAR has currently imposed a 50 points penalty for Matt Kenseth, a six-race suspension and $200,000 fine for crew chief Jason Ratcliff and a six-race suspension of Joe Gibb's owner license for the #20 car.