NASCAR drops hammer on Keselowski and Logano, penalizes Truex Jr. and Hornaday

Jay Busbee

On Wednesday, NASCAR issued penalties to both Penske teams that could deal significant blows to the championship and Chase hopes of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano.

In separate decisions, NASCAR also handed down penalties against Martin Truex Jr. and Ron Hornaday.

The Penske teams' penalties were severe and long-reaching, and stemmed from violations of NASCAR's Sections 12-1; 12-4J and 20-12. Both teams' crew chiefs, car chiefs, engineers and competition directors were suspended for six races, including the All-Star Race in Charlotte. The crew chiefs were fined $100,000 apiece. And both teams lost 25 championship points, which drops Keselowski from 2nd to 4th and Logano from 9th to 14th place.

The penalties will cause considerable difficulty for both teams as they prepare for the Chase. While Keselowski, the defending champion, remains in solid shape to make the Chase, Logano was in the midst of his best season ever. Logano now finds himself outside the Chase, fighting for a highly competitive spot. Without the services of their crew chiefs, both teams will lose out on valuable prep time at Chase tracks, including Kansas, Talladega and Charlotte.

Truex's car failed post-race inspection, putting it in violation of Sections 12-1, 12-4J, and 20-12.8.1B. More specifically, the car failed to meet minimum height during the inspection. Truex lost six driver points and six owner points. Crew chief Chad Johnston was fined $25,000 and placed on probation until June 5.

Hornaday also received a 25-point penalty and a fine of $25,000 for wrecking Darrell Wallace Jr. under caution during Sunday's truck race at Rockingham. Hornaday was not suspended, which was the fine Kyle Busch received for wrecking Hornaday at Texas in 2011.