NASCAR issues lighter than expected penalties vs. No. 17 Roush Fenway team for Homestead violations

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It could have been worse for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion team — a lot worse.

NASCAR officials were expected to issue a severe P5 penalty to the team, particularly crew chief Mike Kelley, for unapproved rear suspension parts found on Stenhouse’s car this past Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Had that occurred, Stenhouse could have been penalized 50 driver points from the final 2014 Sprint Cup standings (which would have dropped him from 27th place, in front of 28th-ranked girlfriend Danica Patrick, to behind Patrick in 29th place), along with a fine up to $125,000 and a six-week suspension for Kelley.

But Thursday, after extensive review of the violation and the team’s explanation, NASCAR significantly lowered the severity of the penalty.

According to a NASCAR media release:

This infraction is a P3 level penalty which is outlined in Section 12-4.3 of the 2014 NASCAR rule book:

[Violations resulting in P3 penalties tend to fall between serious and intermediate in nature. While they might include general “categories” of infractions similar to those in P4 (e.g. unauthorized parts; failing to meet specs; etc.), they tend to pertain more to secondary componentry or systems; modifications of lessor significance; go/no-go measurement failures of an intermediate nature.]

This infraction violates Sections:

  • 12-1 – Actions detrimental to stock car racing;
  • 20-12 – Suspension: All front end and rear suspension mounts and mounting hardware must not allow movement or realignment of any suspension/drive line component beyond normal rotation or suspension/drive line travel.

As for the penalties, NASCAR issued the following statement:

  • “As a result of these violations, crew chief Mike Kelley has been fined $50,000 and placed on NASCAR probation for six months starting Jan. 1, 2015 through June 30, 2015.
  • “Additionally, car chief Patrick Magee has also been placed on NASCAR probation for six months starting Jan. 1, 2015 through June 30, 2015.”

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Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list; Musquin remains out

Shimoda injured
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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Bad news continues to come out of the Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki team as they announced Jo Shimoda injured his shoulder in a practice session and will not mount up when the Monster Energy Supercross 250 East division opens in Houston, Texas on February 4. A timetable has not been given for Shimoda’s return, but a press release from the team references multiple weeks.

“I’m doing my best to focus forward on my return to racing,” said Shimoda in the release. “Our goal was to compete for the 250 Supercross Eastern Regional Championship and I know we had been doing the right work to make that happen. Unfortunately, this crash will cause me to miss the start of the season, but I still aim to be back on the track racing for wins before the end of Supercross.”

Shimoda is joined on the sidelines by teammates Seth Hammaker and Austin Forkner, who also suffered injuries in recent weeks.

The news of Hammaker’s sidelining came just two days ago. His wrist injury is sufficient to require surgery, so he too will miss multiple weeks. Hammaker was scheduled to compete in the 250 East division alongside Shimoda.

Forkner was involved in a Lap 1 crash in the 250 West season opener at Anaheim. Multiple injuries, including an ACL tear, will sideline him for the remainder of the season. He described the injury and its aftermath on Instagram.

Forkner will be relieved by Carson Mumford, but not before that rider’s wrist has healed sufficiently. He is scheduled to debut with Kawasaki in Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 Supercross race on February 18.

Shimoda finished fourth in the 2022 Supercross 250 West division and was second in 2021 points in 250 East. In 2021, Shimoda won his first Supercross race at Salt Lake City. Last year, he scored one podium and six top-fives in nine starts.

Shimoda finished second in last year’s outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, where he added two more SuperMotocross wins including the Unadilla Nationals that kicked off a four-race streak of first- or second-place results.

Kawasaki is not the only team facing injury. Red Bull KTM initially reported Marvin Musquin would be out for the San Diego round with a wrist injury and “maybe more”. This week it was announced he will miss this week’s Triple Crown race in Anaheim and “at least the next several rounds.”