After the Daytona 500 qualifying, NASCAR officials announced on Friday that the association had confiscated the wheels used by Rousch Fenway Keselowski (RFK) Racing and Team Penske. This was confirmed in a tweet by motorsport journalist Bob Pockrass, who wrote:
NASCAR took possession of wheels from Team Penske and RFK Racing. The confiscated parts for further inspection. Any penalties to come at a later date.
This year sees the introduction of Next Gen cars into the sport, with Daytona 500 marking their official debut. The entry of the 7th generation of cars could open up possibilities for teams to hoodwink the change in regulations this year. NASCAR’s move to confiscate parts could be seen as a precautionary measure and not as proof of wrongdoing yet.
The motorsport association’s memo stating the development also stated that the confiscated parts will be taken to the NASCAR Research & Development Center for further inspection. It also stated that the penalties for wrongdoing, if any, will be ascertained at a later date post-inspection.
Meanwhile, RFK Racing drivers Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher took victories for the team in the two Bluegreen Vacation Duels for qualifying for the Daytona 500. The two drivers locked out the second row, following new qualifying rules, for Sunday’s Great American Race.
NASCAR driver warned earlier about teams cheating before Daytona 500
Semi-retired NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. had mentioned the possibility of teams cheating with the introduction of the Next Gen cars. In 2021, when the association announced the Clash at LA Coliseum, he began raising concerns about the cars on his weekly podcast, The Dale Jr. Download, saying:
“With all of the components, there’s all new places and areas for them to get creative in. And when I say get creative, I mean cheat. I think that’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, NASCAR’s EVP, however, clearly outlined the consequences for any team planning to mess with vendor-supplied parts. Motorsports journalist Bob Pockrass tweeted O'Donnell's warning against cheating, writing:
NASCAR EVP Steve O’Donnell promises big penalties for messing with vendor-supplied parts. There is speculation penalties could include a playoff ban. O’Donnell wouldn’t confirm but said: “We have put everybody on notice...We want to make sure the penalty matters.”
The confiscation of parts by NASCAR officials in the lead up to the Daytona 500 seems to be a step in that direction. This will enforce the strict attitude the association has towards wrongdoing in the sport.