Brad Keselowski and Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing are the first to be penalized under the revamped NASCAR’s penalty structure.
Keselowski’s No. 6 Ford Mustang was discovered to have had parts from a NASCAR vendor modified. Following the race in Atlanta, the team was one of two chosen (the other being the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet) to have their vehicles transported back to the NASCAR R&D Center for a thorough breakdown.
Before the 2022 season, NASCAR had declared that any changes to the Next Gen cars’ supplied parts will result in heavy penalties.
Keselowski was punished 100 points and ten playoff points by NASCAR on Thursday for illegal parts changes. Many parts of the new Cup Series car come from a single source. Modifications to the spec parts are expressly prohibited, and the sanctioning organization, in true NASCAR manner, did not specify what the punishment was for.
Keselowski’s No. 6 team had only broken sections 14.1 and 14.5 of the NASCAR rule book, according to NASCAR. Those sections don’t specify which component was changed.
In his first season with RFK Racing, Keselowski’s 100-point penalty takes him from 16th to 35th in the standings. He joined the team in the offseason after acquiring a modest ownership position in Roush Fenway Racing from Team Penske. The punishment has dealt a serious setback to Keselowski’s championship chances, as he now needs to win a race to qualify for the playoffs.
In a race, a driver can earn up to 60 points, and Keselowski had accumulated 122 points through the first five races of the season. He now has 22 points and is in last place among drivers who have competed in all five races this season, 31 points behind Cody Ware.
Chase Elliott leads the points standings with 171 points after five races.
Before the season, NASCAR stated that it would take a hard position against teams who altered vendor-supplied parts on cars. Many components of the new Cup Series car come from a single source, reducing costs for teams and ensuring parity throughout the field.
The new penalty system presented NASCAR with an opportunity to be more honest about its punishments, but this statement served as a stark reminder that NASCAR has no interest in informing its fans about the details of penalties.
NASCAR would be doing its viewers a huge favor if it explained all of the purported penalties that teams have incurred. Instead, it refers to a rulebook that isn’t available to fans and doesn’t go into detail about the infractions.
Explaining the specific penalties to fans would assist to educate them and demonstrate the efforts that teams undertake to make their vehicles faster. What teams do to push the boundaries of the NASCAR rule book in order to make cars faster is an exciting aspect of the sport. It’s not in anyone’s best interests to keep spectators in the dark about the race for speed.