NASCAR announced the news with its weekly inspection report. The release said that the No. 6 Ford Mustang of RFK Racing failed to meet the minimum weight requirements as laid out in NASCAR Rule Book Section 14.11.2. As a result, Keselowski was relegated to a 36th-place finish after 500 laps.
The disqualification changed the finishing order of the race and added another top-five finish to Denny Hamlin’s career total. It did not have an impact on the championship four lineup.
Race-winner Christopher Bell cleared inspection, so he retains the win that punched his ticket to the season finale. Joey Logano already had his spot secure after winning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Ross Chastain and Chase Elliott will also keep their playoff spots.
The Disqualification Takes Away Another Strong Finish
The No. 6 team struggled early in the 2022 season. There were several finishes outside of the top 10, as well as an L2-Level penalty that dropped Keselowski and RFK Racing in the standings by 100 points.
The situation has changed for RFK Racing. Chris Buescher, who has been strong throughout the season, won his second career race in September while Keselowski had added three top-10 finishes since the playoffs began.
One of these performances was a fifth-place run at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Keselowski started ninth overall at the Florida track, and he ran inside the top 10 throughout all three stages. This included crossing the start-finish line fifth overall to close out Stage 2.
The race at Martinsville Speedway seemingly continued this run. Keselowski started sixth overall and scored points in all three stages once again. He crossed the finish line fourth overall in what appeared to be another big day for RFK Racing, even after bumping and banging with Bell during the final stage. However, the situation completely changed after post-race inspection.
This Disqualification Dropped Keselowski in the Standings
The fourth-place finish originally benefited Keselowski. He left Martinsville Speedway sitting 23rd in the standings with 668 points. He was ahead of Front Row Motorsports’ Michael McDowell and 20 points behind Kaulig Racing’s Justin Haley.
Following the disqualification, Keselowski has now fallen one spot in the standings. He is 24th overall with 627 points. McDowell has moved up to 23rd with 671 points while Haley has gained one point to reach 689.
Keselowski will now have an opportunity to potentially gain some crucial points before the end of the Cup Series season. The final race will take place at Phoenix Raceway, a track where he has some strong performances.
Keselowski has not reached Victory Lane during his 26 previous starts at Phoenix Raceway. Though he has top-10 finishes in 50% of these starts. This run includes a second-place finish during the 2018 Round of Eight elimination race and a second-place finish during the 2020 championship race.
The spring race at Phoenix did not result in a top-10 finish. Keselowski started 18th overall in what was only his fourth start with the team. He then ran outside of the top 10 throughout the race before crossing the finish line 23rd overall. Now he will have another opportunity to perform at the one-mile track.