NASCAR hands down big penalties after Atlanta; two crew chiefs suspended, one indefinitely

HAMPTON, GEORGIA - MARCH 19: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #6 Kohler Generators Chevrolet, drives during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 19, 2022 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

NASCAR handed down a L2-level penalty to the Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing team Thursday morning, a few days after the No. 6 car was taken to the R&D Center in Concord after Sunday’s race at Atlanta.

According to the penalty report, the team has been docked 100 driver points and 100 owner points and crew chief Matt McCall was fined $100,000 and suspended from the next four NASCAR Cup Series points races.

If the No. 6 team of Brad Keselowski qualify for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, it will be penalized with the loss of 10 NASCAR Playoff points.

The penalty came under Sections 14.1 and 14.5 in the NASCAR Rule Book, both of which pertain to the modification of a single source supplied part.

Keseowski’s No. 6 car was sent to the rear of the field for unapproved adjustments Sunday at Atlanta. He finished 12th. The car was one of two cars taken back to the R&D Center for further inspection, the other was the No. 9 Chevy of Chase Elliott.

NASCAR said the violations announced Thursday morning were discovered during teardown inspection at the NASCAR R&D Center,

The 100-point penalty will take Keselowski from 16th in the points standings with 122 points to 35th, behind every full-time driver in the field.

With the introduction of the Next Gen car, which has common parts among manufacturers, NASCAR officials released a stricter penalty structure for the 2022 Cup Series season in January, introducing a list of deterrence options on a three-tiered system — from L1 to L3.

Penalty options for a L2 infraction include:

  • Points deductions: 75-120 points
  • Playoff points deductions: 10-25 points
  • Suspension of one or two crewmembers for 4-6 races
  • Fines: $100,000-$250,000

Also announced on Thursday’s penalty report: Veteran crew chief Eddie Troconis was indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating Sections 4.3 and 4.43 of the rule book, which pertains to member conduct.

Troconis’ NASCAR membership was previously suspended on Oct. 6 and reinstated Feb. 11. Troconis has been a crew chief for 142 races over nine seasons in the Truck Series. He has two victories, both coming with Ben Rhodes for ThorSport Racing in 2017 and 2018.

The Oct. suspension came after Troconis was on the pit box for the Young’s Motorsports No. 02 Chevrolet driven by Kris Wright for the Truck series Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Talladega Superspeedway. He was penalized for a behavioral violation detailed in sections 12.8.1.c of the NASCAR Rule Book.

That part of the Rule Book states:

Member actions that could result in a loss of 25-50 driver and Team Owner Points and/or $50,000-$100,000 fine and/or one Race suspension, indefinite suspension, or termination:

  • Physical confrontation with a NASCAR Official, media members, fans, etc.
  • Member-to-Member confrontation(s) with physical violence and other violent manifestations such as significant threat(s) and/or abuse and/or endangerment.
  • Attempting to manipulate the outcome of the Race or championship.
  • Intentionally wrecking another vehicle, whether or not that vehicle is removed from Competition as a result.

NASCAR did not provide specifics around that violation but did confirm that it was not a competition or on-track-related incident.

According to report on Motorsport.com however, the Oct. incident stemmed from a confrontation with another crewmember which led to Traconis’ arrest on assault charges. Those charges were dropped however in Feb. and that led to his reinstatement by NASCAR. The charges were re-filed last month and this led to NASCAR re-suspending him again.