CHARLOTTE, N.C. – If garage gossip is to be believed, somebody dropped a dime on NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski and his Penske Racing team at Texas Motor Speedway.
The story blowing like wildfire Monday through NASCAR goes like this: Keselowski was parked at Texas next to Jimmie Johnson, while teammate Joey Logano was farther down the garage parked next to Jeff Gordon. The assigned spots gave Hendrick Motorsports crews crystal clear views of the Penske cars all weekend As the story goes, there may have been eavesdropping on team chatter over the scanner during practice runs.
Did someone from Hendrick ask NASCAR to take a closer look at the Penske cars? On race day, NASCAR inspectors were indeed sniffing around looking for an infraction. What they found in the rear-end housings on the No. 2 and No. 22 Fords were confiscated – Logano barely made the start of the race – though NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton curiously avoided an important word in explaining the problem with the Penske cars.
Pemberton never said the cars were illegal.
The furthest Pemberton went Saturday in describing the problem in the rear-end housings was they were not in the spirit of the rule.
That might very well be the issue behind Keselowski’s post-race rant, when he hinted that NASCAR was not treating the Penske teams fairly.
There’s so much stuff going on, you guys (reporters) have no idea – you have no (expletive) idea what’s going on, he said. I can tell you there is no team in this garage with the integrity of the 2 team. The way we’ve been treated over the last seven days is absolutely shameful. I feel like we’ve been targeted over the last seven days more than I’ve ever seen a team targeted in my life.
While those are certainly fighting words, NASCAR spokesman Brett Jewkes posted Monday on Twitter that Keselowski would not be punished for his post-race remarks.
NASCAR traditionally hands out sanctions on Tuesdays, and on this particular week, today’s the day that Keselowski and his No. 2 team just happen to be scheduled to celebrate their Sprint Cup title with NASCAR officials at the White House.
When the dust settles, crew chiefs Paul Wolfe and Todd Gordon will likely be sidelined for several weeks while Keselowski and Logano are stripped of critical points in the standings.