Brad Keselowski Explains RFK Racing Violation

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Brad Keselowski said a repaired rear quarter panel was the part NASCAR cited as penalizing the team 100 points, $100,000 and more after the March 20 race at Atlanta.

RFK Racing lost its appeal this week. Keselowski spoke to reporters Friday at Martinsville Speedway and explained what happened.

“(The rear panel) had a key feature that NASCAR felt was not sufficiently repaired,” Keselowski said. “It is a difficult situation. We didn’t want to run the queue panel. We didn’t have any new rear panels to put on the car. We had a rear panel with three races and did some repairs on it. We probably could have done a better job on the repair and we put NASCAR in a tough spot.

“It’s like a drip effect. Frankly, I wish we’d done a better job fixing it, but we can’t go back. I understand NASCAR’s position on this. It’s one of those things where everyone is right and everyone is wrong at the same time. Ultimately, we will have to learn to be better at it.”

NASCAR discovered a violation at its Research and Development Center.

Keselowski had 100 points deducted for a modification of a part supplied by a single source. RFK Racing lost 100 points in the owners standings. NASCAR penalized the team 10 playoff points if Keselowski makes the playoffs. Crew chief Matt McCall was fined $100,000 and suspended for four races. Martinsville will be the third race missed because of this penalty.

RFK Racing appealed, but the National Motoring Appeals Panel upheld the penalty on April 7.

“Our intention in appealing the sanction was to show everyone that we didn’t want to run that back panel,” said Keselowski, who attended the hearing. “If we had a new one, we would have managed it to begin with, so it’s a tough position. Ultimately, NASCAR’s position is that bits and pieces have to be right. I think we did our repairs in good faith, but we probably didn’t do a great job.

“I thought there was a competitive advantage? Probably not, but we put NASCAR in a difficult position of having to make a decision and that’s not fair to them, so it’s one of those situations where I don’t think anybody is really wrong and nobody is really right.

“It’s probably one of those situations where if we could repeat, we would have begged, borrowed and stolen a new tail and put it on the car, but that’s not the world we lived in. I’m glad that’s getting fixed, but this is the world we’re in right now and we’re going to make the most of it.”

RFK Racing announced that it will not appeal the decision to the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer.

“It’s time for us to move on and focus on what we need to win, and the rest is just noise for us,” Keselowski said.

He qualified on the ninth Friday. His teammate Chris Buescher qualified fourth for Saturday’s race (7:30 pm ET on FS1). It’s a big step for a team that failed to advance any of its cars to the Clash show at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in February.

“We’ve made a lot of progress,” Keselowski said. “We unloaded at the Colosseum and we were a mile away. We don’t get to where we need to be. Both cars missed the feature race and today we have two cars in the top 10… We are significantly more competitive and starting to get our feet under us.”

Keselowski must be. He is 31st in points going into Saturday night’s race.

“I don’t think you’re going to make the playoffs if you don’t win races this year,” he said. “It’s not that the penalty doesn’t hurt, it’s not that it’s not shocking, it is.”