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Champ reacts to sanctions ahead of Kansas

April 18, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com

Champ
reacts to sanctions ahead of Kansas
Keselowski still trying to process penalties following race at Texas Motor Speedway

OLATHE, Kan. -- This time, defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski did not say he felt his team was unfairly targeted last week at Texas Motor Speedway

But the Penske Racing driver didn’t exactly back down either. 

Moments after taking part in an April 18 fan appearance at a Wal-Mart south of Kansas Speedway, the 29-year-old said he believes “there are several other teams working in the same area who didn’t have an issue, and I feel like the precedents from last year has steered the course to where we got last week.”

The cars of Keselowski and Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano did not pass muster during pre-race inspecting at Texas, and the respective teams were required to change rear-end housings before finally passing safely through the inspection line.

Four days later, NASCAR docked both drivers 25 points each; crew chiefs Paul Wolfe (Keselowski) and Todd Gordon (Logano) were fined $100,000 each; crew chiefs, car chiefs, lead engineers and team manager Travis Geisler were suspended for six races.

"Losing 25 points is not what you want to do by any means, but again it’s not over yet."

-- Brad Keselowski

“With those precedents and the actions not taken over the period of time beforehand, that does make me not feel very comfortable about the situation,” Keselowski said.

While Penske Racing begins its journey through the appeals process, Keselowski said that his No. 2 team will go forward, unaffected by the charges.

“As of now, the way the process works with the appeals and so forth, any affect it has on us will be … commented on after the appeals process has happened,” Keselowski said. “Because as of right now, all of our people are still at the race track and it hasn’t affected us.”

Until the appeal is heard and ruled on, those suspended will be allowed to attend races and perform their various at-track duties. 

Keselowski, second in points after his ninth-place finish at Texas, fell to fourth in the standings with the 25-point penalty while Logano, who finished fifth, dropped from ninth to 14th in points.

“Losing 25 points is not what you want to do by any means, but again it’s not over yet, there are still a lot of processes to go through,” Keselowski said. “I’m not putting any thought into that until those processes have run their course.”

He said he stands by his post-race comments, in which he expressed tremendous anger and disappointment over what he said was his team being unfairly “targeted.” 

“I think I could have had a little calmer tone,” Keselowski said of his diatribe. “I was in my seven stages of acceptance; I was in my angry stage. I’m in a lot calmer stage right now.”

Still, he said, “Our team operates with a continuous chip on their shoulder. Maybe it’s a little bigger (now).

“I view challenge as an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to prove your strength and prove yourself to those that don’t believe in you. This is certainly a very challenging time and I’m looking at it as an opportunity.”

The STP 400 is scheduled for April 21. It is the eighth of 36 points races for 2013. 

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