If garage gossip is to be believed, somebody dropped a dime on NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski and his Penske Racing team at Texas Motor Speedway. The story blowing like wildfire Monday through NASCAR goes like this: Keselowski was parked at Texas next to Jimmie Johnson, while teammate Joey Logano was further down the garage parked next to Jeff Gordon. The assigned spots gave Hendrick Motorsports crews crystal clear views of the Penske cars all weekend As the story goes, there may have been eavesdropping on team chatter over the scanner during practice runs. Did someone from Hendrick ask NASCAR to take a closer look at the Penske cars? On race day, NASCAR inspectors were indeed sniffing around looking for an infraction. What they found in the rear-end housings on the #2 and #22 Fords were confiscated - Logano barely made the start of the race - though NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton curiously avoided a very important word in explaining the problem with the Penske cars. Pemberton never said the cars were illegal.
When the dust settles, crew chiefs Paul Wolfe and Todd Gordon will likely be sidelined for several weeks while Keselowski and Logano are stripped of critical points in the standings. Remember, it will be for something that hasn't been deemed illegal, at least not yet. It's more likely this is a case of something in development that the Penske crew was trying and NASCAR decided was too close to the edge. And there's the rub in all of this. NASCAR gets to decide when a team has crept too close to a non-existent line in the rule book.
Should the Penske organization get hit with stiff penalties this week, then NASCAR needs to answer the what, why and how to help everyone understand exactly what is and isn't "in the spirit of the rule."(Associated Press)(4-16-2013)