Paul Wolfe will stay with team at Texas as Team Penske awaits date for Phoenix appeal hearing

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NASCAR’s National Motorsports Appeals commission still is working to schedule a hearing for Team Penske, ensuring that crew chief Paul Wolfe will be with Brad Keselowski this weekend.

A NASCAR official confirmed Wednesday morning that next week would be the earliest that the team’s appeal of a Phoenix penalty would be heard, meaning the deferment of Wolfe’s suspension would continue at Texas Motor Speedway.

After Wolfe sat out at Auto Club Speedway (where Keselowski finished second) as the first of a three-race suspension, Penske appealed March 29 and was granted the deferment of Wolfe’s suspension until its case is heard. At Martinsville Speedway, Wolfe guided Keselowski to his first victory Sunday at the 0.526-mile oval.

It’s expected that a day and time could be determined today for the three-person panel to consider the appeal.

NASCAR suspended Wolfe for three races, fined him $65,000 and docked the team and Keselowski 35 points after the No. 2 Ford failed “weights and measures” on the laser inspection station platform following a fifth-place finish at Phoenix.

Team owner Roger Penske said after Keselowski’s win at Martinsville that the team felt confident about its chances because it was challenging the consistency of NASCAR procedures. The team is claiming that it received only one attempt to pass the post-race inspection at the LIS platform while others have gotten multiple attempts.

“You get the call that you failed the certain metric, and we wanted to get the car back and look at it ourselves,” Penske said, explaining why it waited a week to file an appeal. “We huddled and decided it’s going to be better for everybody if we can state our case and maybe overall, (NASCAR will) change some rules so maybe we’ll have a level playing field.

“During that process we think about people that won races last year that were able to run across the plate twice or three times, we weren’t allowed to do that at all. One time and you’re out. I think that consistency is really important to me from an officiating perspective. We’ll have a chance to go and talk about our side of the story. We might get nothing, but I think at least maybe we can make the sport better.”