Paul Wolfe, Brad Keselowski's crew chief, will miss two more races as suspension upheld

Paul Wolfe and Brad Keselowski. (Getty)

A NASCAR appeals panel has denied Team Penske’s appeal of a penalty levied against Brad Keselowski’s No. 2 team, meaning crew chief Paul Wolfe will miss two more races.

The penalties date to the March 19 Phoenix race, when Keselowski’s team was popped for having more than 0.56 degrees of skew in the rear suspension. Keselowski lost 35 points, the team was fined $65,000, and Wolfe was suspended for three races. Wolfe sat out one race before appealing.

Wolfe was atop the box for Martinsville, a race which Keselowski ended up winning. After that race, team owner Roger Penske noted, “I need him on that box every weekend. I pay him to be on that box every weekend, not sitting in his motorhome looking at a bunch of monitors.”

“Who knows?” Keselowski replied at Martinsville when asked whether he could have won without Wolfe. “I ain’t thinking about that. I’m just glad I got a checkered flag and a clock.”

This marked the first violation of postrace skew rules since NASCAR rolled its three-tier penalty system into a single, severe penalty. Penske has the option of filing another appeal, and could request a deferral of the suspension as well. But the next two tracks, Bristol and Richmond, are not in the playoffs, while the five tracks following that are playoff tracks. Keselowski has clinched a spot in the playoffs with two victories as long as he remains in the top 30, which is fairly likely. Keselowski currently sits in fourth place, 41 points out of Kyle Larson’s lead with the penalty; without the points deduction, he would be in second place.
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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.