The sanctioning body has made its final decision about L2-level penalties issued to RFK Racing. A three-person panel heard the Cup Series team’s appeal on April 7 and decided to uphold the original penalties.
NASCAR issued a press release on April 7 and announced the decision of the appeals panel. Mr. Dixon Johnston, Mr. Bill Mullis, and Mr. Dale Pinilis listened to testimony from RFK Racing regarding penalties issued following the trip to Atlanta Motor Speedway. The panel determined that the team did indeed violate Sections 14.1 and 14.5 in the NASCAR Rule Book, which both address modification of a single source supplied part.
RFK Racing will move forward with the loss of 100 owner points, 10 playoff points, and 100 driver points, which dropped Brad Keselowski outside of the top 30 in the championship standings. Crew chief Matt McCall will miss the races at Martinsville Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway while finishing out his four-race suspension. He will also have to pay his $100,000 fine.
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NASCAR has not revealed what RFK Racing did that ultimately violated the new rules pertaining to Gen 7 stock cars. There have been reports listing multiple possibilities, but the sanctioning body has not provided any concrete information.
RFK Racing Accepted the Decision of the Appeals Panel
When NASCAR announced the decision of the appeals panel, there were questions about how RFK Racing would respond. The team provided an immediate response by issuing a statement on Twitter.
“Although we are disappointed in the outcome of the appeal hearing, we are advocates of the process NASCAR has set forth and appreciate the opportunity to make our voice heard in the matter,” RFK Racing said on April 7. “With that in mind, we do not intend to pursue this further and our focus remains on our upcoming races, with Martinsville up first this weekend.”
If RFK Racing so desired, it could appeal the penalty one more time. The final appeals officer would hear the testimony and make a decision. However, RFK Racing will avoid taking this avenue while trying to get Keselowski’s No. 6 Ford Mustang back into playoff contention. The team will pursue this goal at a track, Martinsville Speedway, where Keselowski has 24 starts with 17 top-10 finishes, 12 top-fives, and two trips to Victory Lane.
Points Are Critical for Keselowski
With NASCAR’s appeal panel upholding the penalties, Keselowski now faces steep odds to reach the playoffs. He has to stack points at every possible opportunity, and he is facing essentially a must-win situation.
Keselowski is 31st in the championship standings, so a win won’t be enough to get into the playoffs. Drivers have to be inside of the top 30 in order to lock themselves into the playoffs after reaching Victory Lane.
The 2012 Cup Series champion has made some positive strides since NASCAR issued the original penalty. He dropped to 35th after the Atlanta race, but he moved up to 34th after finishing 14th at Circuit of the Americas. Keselowski then moved up to 31st after a 13th-place finish at Richmond Raceway.