NASCAR notes: Keselowski, Logano may face penalty

FONTANA, CA - MAR 23: Brad Keselowski 2) leads in to turn 3 at the Nascar Sprint Cup Auto Club 400 race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on March 23, 2014

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski (Rochester Hills) had the highest finishes among Fords in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Logano and Keselowski, who drive for Team Penske, will wait to find out if they face penalties after each had a splitter removed from their car during prerace inspection.

NASCAR will take the splitters to their Research and Development Center and decide this week whether there will be penalties.

NASCAR competition communications director Kristi King told reporters: “We worked with the team during the inspection process this morning. Because it was so close on the splitter, we just asked the team to err on the safe side and asked them to switch to a clean splitter.”

Logano started 10th in the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford and finished seventh.

In an interview before the race with NBC Sports Network, Logano said the splitters were “worn a little bit.”

Logano said the splitters were cleaned up a little more than NASCAR liked, so a new one was put on.

Keselowski started 14th in the No. 2 Miller Genuine Draft Ford and finished ninth.

“It was an OK day, nothing spectacular,” Keselowski said. “We just never had the speed like (Matt Kenseth) had. We made the most of our day in every way we could. We just needed to be faster, for sure, especially down the straightaways.”

NASCAR made changes to the race package for MIS. The high-drag package included a 43-inch radiator pan, increased from 38 inches; a 2-inch leading edge on the splitter; a 9-inch spoiler, increased from 6 inches, with a 1-inch wicker bill.

The package debuted last month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and was criticized by drivers.

Asked about the package after Sunday’s race at MIS, Keselowski said: “It doesn’t matter what my thoughts and observations are, it is what NASCAR wants. Whatever they want to do.”

How hard was it to pass?

“It wasn’t fun,” Keselowski said. “It wasn’t the worst I have ever seen, but this package increasingly rewards the car over the driver, and I am not a fan of that.”

–Legend’s final appearance: Jeff Gordon, driving the No. 24 Pepsi Chevrolet SS, led one lap and finished 17th in his final race at MIS. Gordon is retiring after the season.

“Our day didn’t end the way I was hoping,” Gordon said. “We were able to hover around the top 12, which I was extremely happy with. Unfortunately, that is not where we ended up. Just couldn’t get going on the restarts, which is no surprise. It happens to us every weekend.”

–Clamped: Casey Mears, driving the No. 13 Geico Chevrolet, was sidelined after 51 laps with an internal issue and finished 42nd. “From what I understand, it was a clamp,” Mears said. “The motor didn’t break per se; it did eventually, but there is a Wiggins clamp that is on one of the lines that come out of the radiator. The clamp itself actually broke. So, the motor wasn’t getting water to cool off, and it just burned up and broke.”

–Needs a win: Clint Bowyer, who drives the No. 15 5-Hour Energy Toyota, started 12th and finished 41st after he spun and hit the wall on the backstretch on Lap 137. Bowyer, who needs a win to secure a spot in the Chase, fell one spot to 15th in the points standings with 616. … Tony Stewart, who started fifth in the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, is another driver who needs a win over the next three races to secure a spot in the Chase. He is 26th with 441 points in the standings.

–Stay tuned: Shortly after the Pure Michigan 400, a release was issued that Danica Patrick will hold a news conference Tuesday at Stewart-Haas Racing in Kannapolis, N.C. It could be to announce a new sponsor for the 2016 season. Patrick, driving the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, started 23rd and finished 25th at MIS.

Pure Michigan 400 results

1 1 Matt Kenseth Toyota 200 Dominating win, leading 146 laps.
2 7 Kevin Harvick Chevy 200 Runner-up finish despite fuel issues.
3 22 Martin Truex Jr. Chevy 200 Seventh top-10 finish in 20 races at MIS.
4 4 Austin Dillon Chevy 200 A top-five finish after starting in back after changing engine.
5 2 Denny Hamlin Toyota 200 Sixth top-five finish at MIS in 15 races.
6 3 Carl Edwards Toyota 200 Tried to save fuel and got penalized for not maintaining speed.
7 10 Joey Logano Ford 200 Had splitter confiscated by NASCAR before race.
8 17 Ryan Newman Chevy 200 Honored mentor Buddy Baker with name on car.
9 14 Brad Keselowski Ford 200 Had splitter confiscated by NASCAR before race.
10 9 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevy 200 Solid top-10 finish.
11 6 Kyle Busch Toyota 200 Not a top-10 finish, but not bad considering he was in a backup car.
12 24 Paul Menard Chevy 200 Finished eighth at MIS in June.
13 34 Kyle Larson Chevy 200 Fourth consecutive top-15 finish this season.
14 30 Aric Almirola Ford 200 Said it “felt like a win after the weekend we had.”
15 11 Kasey Kahne Chevy 200 Pitted again because of speeding penalty exiting pit road on Lap 23.
16 18 Jamie McMurray Chevy 200 Not as good as seventh-place finish at MIS in June.
17 21 Jeff Gordon Chevy 200 Led one lap in last race at MIS.
18 13 David Ragan Toyota 200 Spun in Turn 2 on Lap 2 to bring out first caution.
19 15 Sam Hornish Jr. Ford 200 Got into wall before last lap after taking two tires on last stop.
20 16 Kurt Busch Chevy 199 June winner wasn’t in the mix this time.
21 5 Tony Stewart Chevy 199 Brought out the seventh caution when he spun in Turn 4 on Lap 137.
22 25 Trevor Bayne Ford 198 Not as good as ninth-place finish at MIS in June.
23 20 Greg Biffle Ford 198 Better than finishing 36th at MIS in June.
24 19 Ryan Blaney Ford 198 Went into wall trying to avoid Tony Stewart’s spin.
25 23 Danica Patrick Chevy 198 GoDaddy didn’t go so fast enough.
26 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 198 Best result since finishing 17th at New Hampshire on July 19.
27 35 Cole Whitt Ford 198 Five spots better than June finish at MIS.
28 26 AJ Allmendinger Chevy 198 Five spots worse than June finish at MIS.
29 28 Justin Allgaier Chevy 197 One spot worse than he started.
30 32 Matt DiBenedetto Toyota 197 Highest-finishing rookie driver.
31 33 Alex Bowman Chevy 197 Better than 41st finish at MIS in June.
32 36 David Gilliland Ford 197 Better than 42nd finish at MIS in June.
33 29 Jeb Burton Toyota 197 Best result since finishing 32nd at Sonoma on June 28.
34 38 Brett Moffitt Ford 197 Fifth consecutive finish in the 30s for the rookie.
35 39 Michael Annett Chevy 197 Not as good as 30th-place finish at MIS In June.
36 31 Landon Cassill Chevy 196 Penalized for pitting before pit road opened on Lap 187.
37 41 Josh Wise Ford 196 Worst finish among the Fords.
38 37 J.J. Yeley Toyota 194 Also finished 38th at MIS in June.
39 8 Jimmie Johnson Chevy 190 Flat right rear tire, missed pit stall, spun to bring out caution. Bad day.
40 42 Travis Kvapil Chevy 190 Started from back after changing engine.
41 12 Clint Bowyer Toyota 164 Led one lap, later spun sideways on back straightaway.
42 40 Casey Mears Chevy 51 Went behind wall early due to overheating.
43 43 Timmy Hill Chevy 9 Parked after nine laps.

Contact George Sipple: Follow him on Twitter @georgesipple. ___


This article was written by George Sipple from Detroit Free Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.