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Brian France explains reasoning behind penalties

RELATED: Photos of the incident | NASCAR suspends Kenseth


NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France appeared on the SiriusXM Radio Speedway show on Wednesday and addressed the two-race suspension handed out to Matt Kenseth for his role in the wreck that knocked himself and Joey Logano out of Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway.

Not only was Kenseth suspended for two races, but he also was put on probation for six months. Joe Gibbs Racing has since appealed the penalties, and that appeal will be heard starting at 9 a.m. ET on Thursday at the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina.

Also penalized coming out of Martinsville was Danica Patrick for aggressive driving on David Gilliland. Patrick received a $50,000 fine and the loss of 25 driver points.


RELATED: Patrick penalized for Martinsville actions

When asked on the show about the difference between Kenseth's aggressive driving and Danica's, France noted the stakes that were on the line for both drivers.

"Going back to Richmond, we made it very clear that anybody in the industry, any driver or participant who intentionally tries to alter the outcome of events or championships, that that crosses a different line than a racing problem between two drivers," France said.

After the incident at Martinsville, Logano was last among the eight Chase drivers and 28 points behind the cutoff position for the Championship 4. Logano went on social media to say he would fight, though it wasn't clear whether he meant physically with Kenseth or to make a comeback to get back into championship contention.  

When asked about whether NASCAR drivers should be allowed to self-police the sport, France clarified the sanctioning body's position.

"What Robin (Pemberton) was saying a few years ago was hey look, boys have at it, do your normal thing, and if we over-officiate, we'll draw back on that and let the normal racing action of NASCAR happen," France said. "And that's what he meant, and that's what we tried to do."

France went on to point out that the sport has welcomed different styles from drivers.

"We've always had different styles of drivers," France said. "Gentleman drivers like a Ned Jarrett who were very successful. But there are other drivers like Brad Keselowski, or somebody else, who is going to be more aggressive. Dale Earnhardt was certainly in that category ... where they take advantage of the contact part of NASCAR. ...

"I look at what Brad did in Texas last year as an example of that, where he was racing hard and took some chances that other drivers wouldn't have taken. And there was obviously some contact and a disappointing outcome for Jeff Gordon at the time. That's always been a part of NASCAR, and there are limits to that, of course.

RELATED: Drivers react to NASCAR's penalties on Kenseth

"And when there are lines that are crossed, like we believe there were in Martinsville, then NASCAR will step in and deal with that. And it's as simple as that."