Matt Kenseth has been suspended for two Sprint Cup races after wrecking Joey Logano at Martinsville last weekend.
In what was seen as retribution for Logano spinning Kenseth at Kansas two weeks earlier, NASCAR also placed Kenseth on six months probation.
The Joe Gibbs Toyota driver will now miss the Texas and Phoenix Sprint Cup races.
Kenseth made heavy contact with Logano on lap 454 with both machines sporting substantial damage.
NASCAR was forced to intervene in the Kenseth/Logano affair even though the Sprint Cup has an unwritten law of drivers settling differences among themselves.
NASCAR executive vice-president Steve O’Donnell said the actions of Kenseth were deliberate.
“Based upon our extensive review, we have concluded that the #20 car driver, who is no longer in the Chase, intentionally wrecked the #22 car driver, a Chase-eligible competitor who was leading the race at the time,” O’Donnell said.
“The #20 car was nine laps down, and eliminated the #22 car’s opportunity to continue to compete in the race.”
Brian France, chairman and CEO of NASCAR, said the situation warranted officials taking action.
“What we want to prevent happening is drivers or anyone participating in NASCAR to take events into their own hands and control outcomes of races,” France said.
“That’s a very serious thing to us, and we’ll be dealing with that.”
The Joe Gibbs team has issued a statement confirming its intention to appeal the severity of the penalty.
“The appeal will challenge the severity of the penalty which is believed to be inconsistent with previous penalties for similar on-track incidents,” the statement read.
In a separate incident at Martinsville, Danica Patrick was fined $50,000 for a behavioural breach along with a deduction of 25 points.
Patrick has also been placed on probation to the end of the year.