NASCAR issues severe penalties to RFK Racing; team will appeal

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NASCAR issued severe penalties Thursday to Brad Keselowski and his No. 6 RFK Racing team for a modification to a single source supplied part discovered after last weekend’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

NASCAR has:

  • Docked Keselowski 100 driver points.
  • Deducted 100 points from RFK Racing in the owner standings.
  • Penalized the team 10 playoff points.
  • Fined crew chief Matt McCall $100,000 and suspended him for the next four Cup points events.

The team announced Friday afternoon that it will appeal the penalties.

Engineer Josh Sell is listed in the team roster for this weekend as the crew chief for the No. 6 team in place of McCall.

NASCAR penalized the team for violating Sections 14.1 C&D Overall Assembled Vehicle Rules, 14.5 A&D Body: Modification of a single source supplied part.

All L2 penalties found after post-race inspection will result in a penalty based off the minimum penalty options and the racing finishing position will not count toward eligibility for the playoffs, advancement in the playoffs, eligibility for non-points events and tiebreakers.

Section 14.1.C of the Cup Rule Book states: “Vehicles must comply with Section 14 Vehicle and Driver Safety Specifications of the NASCAR Rule Book at all times during an Event. Failure to comply will be subject to Penalty pursuant to Section 10 Violations and Disciplinary Action.”

Section 14.1.D of the Cup Rule Book states: “Except in cases explicitly permitted in the NASCAR Rules, installation of additional components, repairs, deletions, and/or modifications to Next Gen Single Source Vendor-supplied parts and/or assemblies will not be permitted.”

Section 14.5.A of the Cup Rule Book states: “Bodies must utilize NASCAR-approved OEM body parts and mounting hardware.”

Section 14.5.D of the Cup Rule Book states: “External surfaces of body panels may be wrapped or wrapped with paint applied to the wrap. Any external wrap or coating must be removable. Textured paint or vinyl will not be permitted.”

Keselowski was 16th in the driver standings with 122 points after last weekend’s race at Atlanta. With the 100-point penalty, he falls to 35th in the driver standings with 22 points.

The most points a driver and team can earn in a race is 60 points (70 points for the Coca-Cola 600, which has an extra stage).

To be eligible for the playoffs, a driver with a win must be in the top 30 in points by the end of the regular season. Keselowski, who does not have a win this season, is 34 points behind B.J. McLeod for 30th in the driver points. Twenty-one races remain in the Cup regular season.

Keselowski had yet to earn any playoff points in the first five races of the season, so the team has -10 playoff points.

Keselowski’s car was one of two NASCAR took back to the R&D Center after finishing 12th at Atlanta. Chase Elliott‘s car was the other car NASCAR took back to the R&D Center. Typically, those inspections are more an evaluation of what teams are doing as opposed to a deeper investigation of a car for any possible penalties.

NASCAR announced in January that it had toughened its penalty structure to prevent teams from making modifications to parts for the Next Gen car supplied from vendors.

“Penalties will be ratcheted up,” said Steve O’Donnell, now chief operating officer, in December at the Next Gen test at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “We hope that we don’t have to do that, but we have to put everybody on notice that this is a culture shift.”

In announcing the new penalty structure in January, O’Donnell stated: “As we discussed during the test at Charlotte, and at length with teams over the offseason, the new deterrence model will be a culture shift for our industry.

“The car was a collaborative project, designed to emphasize performance at the track and the unrivaled abilities of our teams, drivers and pit crews. There will be strong penalties for any teams who run contrary to that design so the fans can focus on our drivers and the great racing expected from NASCAR.”

NASCAR also announced that Eddie Troconis, crew chief for Young’s Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series, has been indefinitely suspended for violation of NASCAR member conduct policies.