A steep fine has the attention of the NASCAR garage
Two weeks ago, the No. 6 car driven by Brad Keselowski was taken back to the NASCAR R&D Center for a detailed inspection. Multiple cars were hauled back to North Carolina for the same inspection. It’s a process done on a weekly basis.
The NASCAR Next Gen car is new for the 2022 season. The spec chassis features many stock components and pieces from single manufactures. The rules are strict that those pieces cannot be modified.
The playing field is as level as it’s ever been. To keep it that way, NASCAR introduced a new penalty system ahead of this season. The new system features much stricture penalties for body/car/part modifications.
Following the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR issued a four race suspension for crew chief Matt McCall. They also issued a 100 point penalty for driver and owner points. That was compounded by a 10 playoff point penalty.
The team was found in violations of sections 14.1 and 14.5 in the NASCAR rulebook. Both of those are related to part modifications.
Rumors in the garage suggest the penalty stemmed from a modification of the rear body.
Ahead of COTA, RFK Racing announced an appeal of the penalty. Their appeal will be heard by a three person panel, independent of NASCAR.
Brad Keselowski comments
“I guess I don’t think that way. I don’t think in terms of surprised or not surprised,” Keselowski told NASCAR.com. “Just try to move forward here.”
With the appeal, the team had the option to defer the crew chief suspension. However, Josh Sell was on the pit box for Sunday’s race at COTA.
“I’m not sure I have an answer for that other than we had committed to Josh Sell being the crew chief before the appeal was founded,” Keselowski said, “so we’re going to stick with that plan.”
Despite the steep 100-point penalty, the team can still make the playoffs. They need a regular season victory and to stay in the top 30 in points to qualify. That’s what the team is working on.
“I mean, every day,” Keselowski said. “Yep, every day.”
Chris Buescher comments
Chris Buescher is another driver for RFK Racing.
“We put pressure on ourselves every week, putting in our full effort every week. Nothing really changes,” said Chris Buescher.
Buescher added, “We talked about that a lot, we’re here to put in everything we can to try to win every week. The reality is wins get you in the playoffs and as you go and can be in contention to win consistently, the rest will come with it.”
Team have taken notice of the penalty
NASCAR has drawn the line with the penalty. Joey Logano, the former teammate to Brad Keselowski has taken notice.
“I’m pretty sure it scares the hell out everyone, which is probably some of the attention,” said Joey Logano.
“NASCAR just said they’re gonna put the foot down. That’s like I was saying earlier, we don’t know what it was and what happened, but we do know the penalty was huge.”
Logano added, “So, I don’t know, but we know you probably shouldn’t screw around.”
The appeal of the Roush Fenway Kenselowski penalty will be heard on April 7th.