NASCAR issues penalties to Matt Kenseth and Joe Gibbs Racing
For the second week in a row, Nascar has issued penalties to a major team. Nascar issued penalties against Matt Kenseth and Joe Gibbs Racing on Wednesday after Kenseth’s engine failed post race inspection at Kansas on Sunday.
According to The Associated Press, Nascar said that one of the eight connecting rods in the engine of Kenseth’s number 20 JGR car didn’t meet the minimum weight requirement. Joe Gibbs Racing’s engines are supplied by Toyota Racing Development, and although it could have been a quality issue by TRD, Nascar still penalized the team.
Kenseth was docked 50 points, had his pole position award taken away (which won’t count towards making him eligible for next year’s Sprint Unlimited exhibition race), and his win on Sunday won’t count for bonus points towards the Chase for the Sprint Cup, according to USA Today Sports. Kenseth’s crew chief Jason Ratcliff was fined $200,000, suspended for six races, and put on probation through December 31. Joe Gibbs was docked 50 car owner points and had his owner’s license for the number 20 car suspended for the next six races USA Today Sports reports. In addition Toyota lost five points in the manufacturers standings. Gibbs can still attend races while his license is suspended, but he won’t be eligible to receive car owner points.
According to ESPN, Kenseth drops from eighth in the standings to a tie for 14th with Jeff Gordon. JGR has said that it will appeal the penalty.
”It is our understanding that one of the eight connecting rods on the engine was ruled too light” JGR said in a statement according to the AP. ”We are working with our partners at TRD on this issue.”
Lee White, president of Toyota Racing Development, said in a statement, “in part, one of our engine connecting rods weighed in approximately three grams under the legal minimum weight of 525 grams. None of the other seven connecting rods were found to be under the minimum weight. We take full responsibility for this issue … JGR is not involved in the process of selecting parts or assembling the Cup Series engines. It was a simple oversight on TRD’s part” USA Today Sports reports.
The Kenseth penalties come one week after Nascar penalized Penske Racing for using unapproved parts in the rear of their cars at Texas on April 13. According to the AP, Penske Racing’s appeal is scheduled for May 1.