The National Motorsports Appeals Panel heard an appeal Wednesday by NASCAR crew member Jeffrey W. Merritt regarding his behavioral level penalty and amended his suspension.
Merritt, a front end mechanic for AM Racing in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series, was suspended indefinitely on March 20 for violating Section 2.11.a of the rule book.
That section states that: “Any NASCAR Member charged with any violation of the law (misdemeanor and/or felony) shall notify NASCAR … prior to the next scheduled Event or within 72 hours of being so charged, whichever is earlier.”
After hearing Merritt’s appeal, the panel found that the rule had been violated but ruled Merritt is required to pay a $1,000 fine and serve a two-race suspension.
Merritt has the right to appeal the decision of the National Motorsports Appeals Panel to the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer in accordance with Section 15 of the NASCAR Rule Book.
A spokesperson for AM Racing told NBC Sports, “We are very happy with The National Motorsports Appeals Panel’s ruling and have no further comment at this time.”
The National Motorsports Appeals Panel affirmed the penalty issued to Ben Rhodes‘ Camping World Truck Series team from Daytona.
The team stated it will appeal Wednesday’s decision to the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer. The officer’s decision will be final.
NASCAR penalized the team for post-race body inspection heights outside allowable tolerances. NASCAR suspended crew chief Eddie Troconis one race and fined him $5,000. NASCAR also docked Rhodes 10 points and the team 10 owner points.
The appeal panel ruled Wednesday that the team violated the rules and upheld the penalties.
Dixon Johnston, Bill Mullis and Cathy Rice served on the panel.
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Crew chief Paul Wolfe will be atop Brad Keselowski’s pit box at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend while the team awaits the final appeal of its Phoenix penalty.
Final Appeals Officer Bryan Moss will hear Team Penske’s case Tuesday, April 25th, and NASCAR has granted deferral of Wolfe’s suspension through Bristol. Team Penske confirmed Wednesday that Wolfe will lead Keselowski’s No. 2 Ford this weekend at the 0.533-mile track, where Keselowski has two wins.
Wolfe was suspended for three races and fined $65,000, and Keselowski and the team were docked 35 points for failing the Laser Inspection System after a fifth place at Phoenix Raceway.
Wolfe sat out Fontana but returned at Martinsville Speedway (where Keselowski won) and Texas Motor Speedway as the team appealed the penalty.
The National Motorsports Appeals Panel upheld NASCAR’s penalty after an April 12 hearing.
If Moss denies Penske’s appeal, Wolfe would miss the races at Richmond International Raceway and Talladega Superspeedway if he is at Bristol.
Team Penske’s appeal of the penalty to Brad Keselowski’s team from postrace violations at Phoenix Raceway has been scheduled for the morning of Wednesday, April 12. A three-member panel from the National Stock Car Racing Commission will consider the case.
Keselowski was docked 35 points, and crew chief Paul Wolfe was suspended for three races, after the No. 2 Ford failed “weights and measures” on the laser inspection station platform following a fifth-place finish March 19 at Phoenix.
Wolfe sat out the following race at Fontana as the team mulled an appeal. After the appeal was filed March 29, he was granted a deferment allowing him to be on the pit box Sunday at Martinsville Speedway for Keselowski’s first victory at the 0.526-mile oval.
The deferment will remain in place for Sunday’s Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway, meaning Wolfe will be the crew chief for the 500-mile race on fresh asphalt.
After the win at Martinsville, team owner Roger Penske talked about his team’s chances for winning the appeal.
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.”