RFK Racing Withdraws Appeal Of NASCAR Safety Violation Penalty

NASCAR Cup Series penalized RFK Racing’s No. 17 Ford team for a detached wheel during the Penziol 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 3.

A pair of Chris Buescher’s crew members, front tire changer Jakob Prall and jackman Nicholas Patterson, were suspended for two races for an improperly secured wheel during the race in Las Vegas, which was set to begin in Phoenix this past Sunday.

RFK Racing initially appealed the suspension, so Prall and Patterson were allowed to work in the No. 17 car’s pit at Phoenix. RFK withdrew the appeal on Monday, per NASCAR.com. The pair will serve their suspensions at the Food City 500 at Bristol this Sunday and the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on March 24.

RFK co-owner Brad Keselowski told reporters during race weekend in Phoenix that the appeal was intended to provide extra time for new crew members to prepare to fill in for Prall and Patterson.

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“To bring in a new tire changer, a jackman, it’s a major undertaking,” Keselowski said, per NASCAR.com. “These guys are really good. They’re highly skilled athletes. Most of them are college athletes that have played for quite some time, and by the nature of where the race teams are, we don’t carry a depth chart of people that you wish you could carry. It’s expensive. And so, you’d like to have as much time as possible to bring somebody up to make sure you don’t have the same problem again.”

Keselowski added: “You want to have an extra week of practice of working out whoever that new guy is going to be, and the jitters that they might have before they jump over the wall in front of 100 thousand-some fans and a car that’s moving 50, 60 miles an hour. You want to get every little bit of time you can with that person, especially when it’s two people. I think we’re working through that right now.”

Buescher had his best finish of the NASCAR Cup Series season by finishing second at Phoenix behind race winner Christopher Bell. Keselowski claimed his first top-5 of the season, coming in fourth.

Jackman Samuel Wright and front tire changer Travis Juedes will fill in for Prall and Patterson for the race at Bristol.

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RFK Racing is not the first team to be penalized by NASCAR this season. Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske driver Joey Logano were both levied penalties for confiscated parts and a webbed glove ahead of the Ambetter Health at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Feb. 25.

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