NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Matt Kenseth and the rest of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team though the penalties handed down to them by NASCAR, resulting from the No. 20 Toyota’s engine failing inspection after the April 21 race at Kansas Speedway, were too harsh, and apparently, the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel thought so, too. After the team made its case to the Panel on Wednesday, several of the penalties were reduced.
The original penalties came as a result of one of the connecting rods in the engine raced at Kansas Speedway being to light. When NASCAR issued its penalties, the sanctioning body cited sections 12-1 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing), 12-4J (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that race equipment used in the event does not conform to the NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20 of the NASCAR rule book, or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the event) and 20-5.5.3E (Only solid magnetic steel connecting rods with a minimum weight of 525.0 grams will be permitted. Connecting rod failed to meet minimum connecting rod weight) of the 2013 NASCAR rule book.
The $200,000 fine for crew chief Jason Ratcliff stood, but his suspension was decreased from six races to one. He’ll remain under probation for three races upon his return. The points penalties for both Kenseth and car owner Joe Gibbs were reduced from 50 to 12. Other penalties for Kenseth and Gibbs were overturned — Kenseth not getting credit for his Kansas pole when it came to qualifying for next year’s Sprint Showdown and not getting Chase for the Sprint Cup bonus points for the Kansas race win, and the No. 20 team not earning owner’s points for six races.
While penalties were reduced for JGR, they were increased for Toyota Racing Development. After the original penalties were announced by NASCAR, TRD released a statement accepting responsiblity for the issue. Toyota’s five-point manufacturer’s point penalty was increased to seven points.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR