Team Penske and RFK Racing could be the first to be hit with NASCAR’s harsh fines for its Next Generation race cars.
NASCAR officials seized several wheels from Team Penske and RFK Racing vehicles on Friday morning. Joey Logano, Austin Cindric, Ryan Blaney, and Harrison Burton are among Team Penske’s drivers (for the Wood Brothers). Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher are the drivers for RFK Racing.
RFK and its 2022 car won the Bluegreen Vacation Duels in a surprise change of events. On Lap 60, Logano lost control of his Ford while attempting to block Buescher. The vehicle was completely demolished. As a result, Logano will start the Daytona 500 from the back of the field on Sunday.
While the crash was the tragic highlight of the first point-awarding race with the next-generation vehicles, officials were keeping a tight eye on RFK’s vehicle. Team Penske was also being investigated.
Fans believed they heard something unusual, but couldn’t figure out what it was. Officials from the racing industry joined them in doubting that everything was running as smoothly as it might.
They chose to take Penske’s and RFK’s wheels after reviewing the race on Thursday. The parts have already arrived to the NASCAR Research & Development Center, where they will be thoroughly inspected.
NASCAR didn’t indicate why the wheels were taken away, but it’s possible that it had something to do with the Fords being a little louder than the other cars. The next-gen cars were “whistling like a jet engine,” according to race fans, while others verified “something was plainly different.”
According to a representative for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., “almost 85 percent” of tires are placed on wheels prior to race weekend.
However, something may have been added to the wheels after they were mounted, or a team could have unmounted and remounted a tire on the track.
The new penalty system in place at NASCAR contains more stronger fines and penalties, including the revocation of playoff status. Along with the debut of the Next Gen vehicle, the new L1-L3 penalty system was introduced.
A spokesman from team Penske declined to comment on the wheels’ seizure, stating the organization will wait for the results of NASCAR’s investigation.