Brad Keselowski: Parts approved
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Reigning Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski says the parts that NASCAR confiscated from his car and Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano's last week at Texas Motor Speedway were approved.
NASCAR says the parts from the rear end housing were not approved.
That will be at issue when the National Stock Car Racing Commission hears Penske Racing's appeal to the fines, suspensions and point deductions issued on Tuesday.
"Obviously, we're in an agree-to-disagree stage between Penske Racing and NASCAR," Keselowski said on Friday at Kansas Speedway. "And, thankfully, there's a third group to settle those disagreements."
Keselowski and Logano were docked 25 points each. Their crew chiefs, car chiefs and lead engineers -- as well as Keselowski team manager Travis Geisler -- were suspended for six point races and the All-Star race.
Those suspensions won't begin until after the appeal, and then only if they are upheld. No date has been given.
But Keselowski believes Penske Racing has a case just as Hendrick Motorsports had one last year when it appealed penalties against Jimmie Johnson's team for an illegal C-post. Most of those penalties were reversed on the second and final level of appeal.
"Yeah, there's definitely some similarities," Keselowski said. "I'm not going to say it's an identical situation, but there definitely are some similarities."
The difference, according to NASCAR, is it was emphatic no changes could be made to the rear-end housings late last season. That, according to many in the garage, was re-emphasized repeatedly during the offseason.
"I feel like it's pretty clear NASCAR's stance on those type of components," four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon said. "I feel like over the last couple of years they have really stepped it up on getting parts approved.
"They see something that somebody is doing, and if they don't feel like it is blatantly intentional against the rules, then there is usually a time frame where people start pushing the limited too far and then they make a rule. ... I feel like they've really made a strong statement of that these components need to be approved."
Gordon said he wasn't surprised by the penalties.
"Everybody was expecting it to be pretty harsh," he said. "[It's] an area that we all feel like this year is not an area where you want to have pieces that weren't approved by NASCAR pushing those limits."
Keselowski made strong statements last year before NASCAR defined how far teams could push the rear housing that the Hendrick Motorsports cars were gaining an advantage with adjustments. He was outspoken after Saturday's Texas race to the point of questioning NASCAR's integrity.
"There's so much stuff going on, you guys have no idea -- you have no [expletive] idea what's going on," Keselowski told reporters. "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 absolute 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."
Asked on Friday to clarify the point he was trying to make, Keselowski said, "It's pretty obvious."
"Defining cheating in this sport is something that has been very poorly done," he said. "You all are probably the ones that need to step back and try to figure out how to define that better. Clearly, this garage is having a hard time doing that."
Keselowski declined to expand on what he meant by the "stuff going on."
"It's important for the appeal process to work out on its own, and I'll save those comments for how that works out," he said. "I don't want to jeopardize the ability to have a clear appeal."
Keselowski and Logano struggled to find speed on Friday at Kansas. Looking ahead to all Penske Racing will face during the appeal and beyond, Keselowski said this will show how strong the organization can be.
"There [is] a lot of passion inside this group," he said. "The strong will survive."
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