Matt Kenseth loses first appeal; final appeal to begin at 1 pm ET

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CONCORD, N.C. – Matt Kenseth lost the appeal of his two-race NASCAR suspension Thursday before the National Motorsports Appeals Panel and will have a final appeal at 1 p.m. ET today.

Kenseth’s case will be heard by Bryan Moss, the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer. Moss’ decision, expected later today, is final.

Moss can alter Kenseth’s Behavior Penalty in any way  – increasing it, decreasing it, or keeping it the same.

With the case moving to the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer, the burden of proof shifts from NASCAR to Kenseth to show by a  “preponderance of the evidence” that (1) a violation did not occur, (2) the penalty assessed is not within the score of the Guidelines, and/or (3) that he or she was denied appellate rights as specified,” according to the Sprint Cup Rule Book.

If Kenseth remains suspended, Joe Gibbs Racing has said that Erik Jones would drive his car this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

Kenseth appealed his two-race suspension to the National Motorsports Appeals Panel on Thursday morning.

The Panel stated “upon hearing testimony, the decisions … are:

“The Appellant (Kenseth) violated the rules set forth in the Penalty notice; The Panel affirms and upholds the original penalty levied by NASCAR.”

Serving on the Panel were Ken Clapp, a former motorsports executive, promoter and currently a motorsports consultant; Bill Mullis, a former driver and current owner of Langley Speedway; and Dale Pinilis, promoter at Bowman Gray Stadium.

NASCAR Chairman Brian France told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Wednesday that there was a difference between when happened between Kenseth and Logano at Kansas when Kenseth spun after their contact and what happened at Martinsville when Kenneth’s contact wrecked Logano.

“They’re similar in many ways but they are very different because of the stakes that were on the line with the Chase,’’ France. “Going back to Richmond we’ve been very clear when anybody in the industry, any driver or participant intentionally tries to alter the outcome of events or championships, that crosses a different line than a racing problem between two drivers. So obviously the significance of what was on the line had to be taken into consideration.’’

France said part of the reason Kenseth was given a two-race suspension was to deter others from doing the same thing.

“We issue penalties for two reasons. We’ve got to punish you for what we think you’ve done wrong, and we have to make sure that we deter somebody else from doing exactly what you did or worse. That’s why we can’t be consistent with every single penalty because sometimes we’ve got to up the ante with a penalty because we don’t believe the current remedy is a deterrent.

“That’s one of the reasons that we arrived at a two-race suspension (to Kenseth) in this particular case. It has to be a deterrent because there are clear rules of the road.’’