After qualifying for the Daytona 500, NASCAR officials announced Friday that the association confiscated wheels used by Rousch Fenway Keselowski (RFK) Racing and Team Penske. This was confirmed in a tweet from motorsport journalist Bob Pockrass, who wrote:
NASCAR has taken ownership of wheels from Team Penske and RFK Racing. Parts confiscated for further inspection. Any penalties to come at a later date.
This year sees the introduction of Next Gen cars to the sport, with the Daytona 500 marking their official debut. The entry of the 7th generation of cars could open up the possibility for teams to cheat regulation change this year. NASCAR’s decision to confiscate parts could be considered a precautionary measure and not evidence of wrongdoing at this time.
The memo from the motorsports association outlining the development also said the confiscated parts would be taken to the NASCAR Research and Development Center for further inspection. He also said penalties for wrongdoing, if any, will be determined at a later date after the inspection.
Meanwhile, RFK Racing drivers Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher scored wins for the team in both Bluegreen holiday duels to qualify for the Daytona 500. Both drivers locked out the second row, under new rules for qualifying for Sunday’s Great American Race.
NASCAR driver earlier warned teams were cheating ahead of Daytona 500
Semi-retired NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. had mentioned the possibility of teams cheating with the introduction of Next Gen cars. In 2021, when the association announced the Clash at the LA Coliseum, he began raising concerns about cars on his weekly podcast, Download Dale Jr.saying:
“With all the components, there are new places and new areas where they can get creative. And when I say be creative, I mean cheat. I think it’s going to be a very, very difficult task for NASCAR to control all the creativity that these teams are going to try to develop.”
Steve O’Donnell, executive vice president of NASCAR, however, clearly outlined the consequences for any team planning to play with supplier-supplied parts. Motorsports journalist Bob Pockrass tweeted O’Donnell’s warning against cheating, writing:
NASCAR Executive Vice President Steve O’Donnell is promising hefty penalties for tampering with supplier-supplied parts. There is speculation about the penalties which could include a playoff ban. O’Donnell did not confirm but said: “We warned everyone… We want to make sure the penalty counts.”
The confiscation of parts by NASCAR officials ahead of the Daytona 500 appears to be a step in that direction. This will reinforce the association’s strict attitude towards wrongdoing in sport.