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Partial win for Penske in NASCAR penalties appeal

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 7, 2013 at 3:16 pm •  Published: May 7, 2013

Penske praised NASCAR's appeals process, and didn't mind the two phases. But it's becoming clear that those who run afoul of NASCAR have their best chance at redemption with Middlebrook: Since NASCAR began keeping records in 1999, the first-phase National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel that Penske went before last week has upheld 106 of 150 appeals.

Still, he said the system is fair.

"I think the process is good. The panel is the first step and you don't go to the Supreme Court the first day," Penske said. "We operated within the guidelines and I'm happy with the outcome."

During the first phase of appeal, each side presents its case separately to a three-member panel that is chosen from a pool of 49 potential jurors. The other side is not in the room during the presentation.

During final appeal, each side presents its case separately and Middlebrook then brings both parties into the room to question them together. Penske said that was the first time his organization was able to hear from Sprint Cup Series director John Darby directly about the infractions.

"Today we had the opportunity to meet with the chief appellate officer and we had that opportunity in conjunction to meet with NASCAR, and this was the first opportunity we had to listen to John specifically to say 'These are the areas we think you are over the line on,'" Penske said. "Obviously we had our rebuttal on that, and then the appellate officer had a chance to take into consideration all of the comments we made and NASCAR made, and he came up with a final ruling."

It's a busy week for NASCAR, which on Wednesday defends before the three-member panel penalties levied against Joe Gibbs Racing for an illegal part being found in Matt Kenseth's race-winning engine from Kansas.

JGR is not arguing the part was illegal. The team is instead seeking a reduction of the penalties because the infraction was a mistake on manufacturer Toyota's part that the team had nothing to do with, and it did not provide a competitive advantage.