Penske Racing has succeeded in having the suspensions of a swathe of team members reduced from the original six Cup races to just two, as a result of their final appeal over sanctions imposed on the teams over unapproved rear suspension parts being used on their cars at Texas last month.
However, drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano still lose 25 points each in both the drivers' and owners' championships. The $100,000 fine on both Keselowski's crew chief Paul Wolfe and his counterpart on Logano's team Todd Gordon also stands.
But for the team it was the extended suspensions of both crew chiefs as well as car chiefs Jerry Kelley and Raymond Fox and team engineers Brian Wilson and Samuel Stanley, together with Penske's competition director Travis Geisler, that threatened to do far more serious long-term damage to the championship hopes of the #2 and #22 teams.
Originally all seven men were due to miss six Cup races together with the non-championship Sprint All-Star exhibition event, which would have left Penske scrambling for suitably experienced senior personnel to step into the vital roles.
"I don't think it's something we worry about," said team owner Roger Penske when asked if he was disappointed that the fines and points deductions remained unchanged. "From my perspective overall, the key thing is we have our people back at the track ... That's most important. If we're going to want to be a leader and win the championship again, we have plenty of time to do that."
Penske's original appeal against the penalties before a three-man panel last week failed to change NASCAR's original sanctions, but in their final appeal to chief appellate officer John Middlebrook on Tuesday the team succeeded in getting the suspensions down to just two Cup races in addition to the All-Star race.
That means the seven team members in question will be suspended for the next three upcoming race weekends at Darlington Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway. They will return for the race weekend at Dover International Speedway. They remain on NASCAR probation until December 31.
“After looking at all the facts and data and interpretations from the rule book, I have decided to uphold the original fines and points penalties,” said Middlebrook. “However, I have decided to reduce the suspensions of the seven team members involved from six points races and the all-star race to two points races and the all-star race.”
He did not do into his reasons for reducing the term of suspensions on the seven team members.
Roger Penske said that he was happy and relieved at the outcome of the appeals process, calling the outcome "fair and equitable" and hinting that if this had been the original ruling or the decision after the first appeal hearing then he would have been happy to let the matter drop.