NASCAR came down hard on Matt Kenseth’s No. 20 Sprint Cup Series team earlier this week after the engine in the car failed post-race inspection following Sunday’s STP 400 at Kansas Speedway — a race for which Kenseth won the pole, dominated and captured the win.
Here is NASCAR’s explanation regarding exactly which rules were violated, per the penalty announcement from the sanctioning body on Wednesday:
“The No. 20 car was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-5.5.3 (E) (Only magnetic steel connecting rods with a minimum weight of 525.0 grams will be permitted; connecting rod failed to meet the minimum connecting rod weight) of the 2013 rule book.”
And here’s the list of penalties because of the above-mentioned rules violations, also per NASCAR’s announcement:
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).
· Car owner Joe Gibbs has lost 50 championship car owner points; the first place finish from April 21 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.
· Driver Matt Kenseth has lost 50 championship driver points; the Coors Light Pole award from April 19 at Kansas Speedway will not be allowed for eligibility into the 2014 Sprint Unlimited; the first place finish from April 21 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 towards the eligibility for a driver Wild Card position.
· The loss of five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturer Championship points.
In the aftermath of NASCAR’s announcement, Toyota Racing Development released a statement accepting responsibility for the engine issue, as TRD, not JGR, builds and supplies the engines. According to Kenseth, nobody from Joe Gibbs Racing even looks at the engines before they go into the Sprint Cup cars.
Kenseth referred to the penalties as “grossly unfair” and “borderline shameful.” He wasn’t so upset about the penalties he incurred, himself, but was extremely disappointed in the penalties handed to car owner Joe Gibbs, crew chief Jason Ratcliff and other members of the No. 20 team.
Here’s a video showing exactly what Kenseth had to say about the punishment: