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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