NASCAR just proved they are not messing around

Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Brad Keselowski, RFK Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Brad Keselowski, RFK Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Five races into the 2022 Cup Series season, NASCAR has made good on their promise to issue massive penalties related to Next Gen car violations.

Before the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season — and the Gen 7 car era — began in February, NASCAR announced a more stringent penalty structure which featured a list of deterrence options on a three-tiered system: L1, L2 and L3.

Just five races into the 36- race season, NASCAR has already proven that they aren’t messing around, issuing a massive L2-level penalty to the #6 team of RFK Racing’s Brad Keselowski.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. still annoys Martin Truex Jr.. light. Must Read

The penalty came under Sections 14.1 and 14.5 in the NASCAR Rule Book regarding the modification of a single source supplied part. Following Sunday afternoon’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, teardown inspection at the NASCAR R&D Center revealed the violations.

Ahead of the race itself, the #6 Ford was sent to the rear of the field at the start because of unapproved adjustments.

But just how strict is the penalty issued to Keselowski and his team?

Prior to the season, it was determined that L2-level penalties within the following ranges.

  • Points deductions: 75 to 120 points
  • Playoff points deductions: 10 to 25 points
  • Suspension of crew members: one or two, for four to six races
  • Fines: $100,000 to $250,000

Keselowski and his team were docked 100 driver points and 100 owner points in the standings, and crew chief Matt McCall was suspended for four races and fined $100,000. Additionally, if Keselowski qualifies for the playoffs, he will also be docked 10 playoff points.

Prior to the penalty, he had scored 122 points through five races and sat in 16th place in the point standings (17th in the playoff picture). He now sits in 35th, lowest among full-time drivers, with 22.

And just like that, any doubts about NASCAR’s willingness to enforce such a strict penalty have been eliminated.

Next. Top 25 NASCAR drivers of all-time. dark

It will be an uphill battle for Keselowski to get into the playoffs. He now sits 104 points below the playoff cut line as opposed to just four. Even if he wins before the 26-race regular season ends, he needs to finish in the top 30 in the point standings to become playoff eligible. He sits 34 points outside the top 30 following the penalty.