Defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Penske Racing team are now perilously close to falling out of the chase after being docked six points by NASCAR on Tuesday. The No. 2 car will drop from eighth to 10th in the points standings after its front end did not pass inspection following Sunday's FedEx 400 at Dover.
The front of Keselowski's Ford measured too low, giving NASCAR cause to fine crew chief Paul Wolfe $25,000 and leave Keselowski just eight points ahead of 11th-place Jeff Gordon for the final chase spot with 13 races left to grab a top-10 berth for the 10-race Chase.
Tony Stewart (2006) is the only defending Sprint Cup champion to miss the Chase in the following season.
Penske Racing responded with a statement:
". . . the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion experienced a part failure during Sunday's Dover race (that) resulted in the car's front end being too low when presented for postrace inspection. The problem is being addressed internally to ensure it does not occur again and the team is not planning to appeal the penalty."
NASCAR previously punished Penske, Wolfe and Keselowski after the rear suspension of the No. 2 car was confiscated during prerace inspection April 13 at Texas Motor Speedway. The No. 2 team, as well as Joey Logano's No. 22 car, were docked 25 points each. Wolfe was placed on probation through Dec. 31. The FedEx 400 was Wolfe's return following his two-race suspension. Keselowski's year has also included being called into chairman Brian France's office after the driver made comments critical of NASCAR.