The NASCAR Fed-Ex 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway marked the return of crew chief Paul Wolfe to the team of Penske Racing Sprint Cup Champion Brad Keselowski. The return of his championship crew chief clearly showed as Keselowski was able to actually claw out a decent finish after week upon week of mediocrity lately. When he was forced to work with relief crew chief, Kevin Buskirk, Keselowski wasn’t able to come close to a top ten finish.
Yet Keselowski’s finish of fifth, his first top five since Bristol, was marred by post race action. When NASCAR officials took the No. 2 Ford to post-race inspection, the front end of his car was found to be too low, an infraction of a NASCAR rule already broken by the Penske teams in the original penalty debacle that led to Wolfe’s suspension.
After the race on Sunday some had to wonder what the NASCAR officials would rule for the team that has been more a focus of controversy than contention on the track this year. Knowing how NASCAR has stood the line this year, it was reasonable to suspect that more suspensions could come along with another hefty point penalty.
Instead a merciful side of the NASCAR officials was seen this week as they ruled that Keselowski would lose six points and his crew chief Paul Wolfe would be fined $25,000. This is a weak ruling by NASCAR. Crew chief Wolfe was already on probation and in his first week back he has an infraction on his race car? How can NASCAR appear this weak by not enforcing his probation?
The entire foundation of the concept of probation is that if the individual then does something wrong again the penalty is greater. Keselowski’s season will continue even though he now teeters on the edge of the top ten in the standings and has a chance to make the Chase. The reputation of the NASCAR officials is hit harder by this.