News Column

Matt Kenseth's Winning Car Fails NASCAR Inspection

April 24, 2013

Matt Kenseth's NASCAR Sprint Cup win at Kansas Speedway last Sunday may have been tainted.

In a post-race inspection at NASCAR's Research and Development center, it was determined that the connecting rods in Kenseth's Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota failed to meet the minimum weight standards of 525 grams.

As a result, NASCAR, for the second straight week, has assessed major penalties to one of Sprint Cup's most powerful teams.

--Crew chief Jason Ratcliff has been fined $200,000 and suspended from NASCAR until the completion of the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship points events (a period of time that also includes the non-points NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race) and placed on probation until Dec. 31.

--Car owner Joe Gibbs has lost 50 championship car owner points; the first-place finish at Kansas Speedway will not earn bonus points toward the accumulated aggregate car owner points total after the completion of the first 26 events of the current season and will not be credited towards the eligibility for a car owner wild-card position; has had the owner's license for the No. 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car suspended until the completion of the next six championship points events, therefore being ineligible to receive championship car owner points during that period of time.

--Kenseth has been docked 50 championship driver points; the Coors Light Pole award at Kansas Speedway will not be allowed for eligibility into the 2014 Sprint Unlimited; the first-place finish at Kansas Speedway will not earn bonus points toward the accumulated aggregate driver points total after the completion of the first 26 events of the current season and will not be credited toward the eligibility for a driver wild-card position.

Joe Gibbs Racing said in a statement that just one of the eight connecting rods on the engine was ruled too light, and it plans to appeal the penalties.

The win was the second this season for Kenseth, who moved to Joe Gibbs Racing from Roush Fenway Racing after the 2012 season, and the fourth for JGR in the last six races. Kyle Busch has won the other two races for JGR this season.

Two weeks ago, NASCAR confiscated parts in the rear housing of the Penske Racing cars of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano prior to the Texas race. Keselowski and Logano were docked 25 points each. Their crew chiefs were fined $100,000 and suspended for six races, along with five other top crew officials.

Those penalties are under appeal.

Meanwhile, NASCAR docked Camping World Truck Series driver Johnny Sauter 25 points because of a modified fuel cell found during inspection following last Saturday's race at Kansas Speedway.

Sauter's crew chief, Joe Shear, was fined $10,000, suspended for the next four races and placed on probation until Dec. 31.

The penalty knocked Sauter from a 12-point lead over Matt Crafton in the standings to a tie with Jeb Burton in second, 13 points out.

Sauter has won two of the four trucks races this season and finished fifth at Kansas.



Source: (c)2013 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.) Distributed by MCT Information Services


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