Severe Penalties For Kenseth’s No. 20 Team
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The fines and penalties are mounting.
For the second consecutive week, NASCAR has levied serious penalties against a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series organization.
The No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota that Matt Kenseth drove to victory in Sunday’s STP 400 at Kansas Speedway failed post-race engine inspection April 23 at the NASCAR Research and Development Center because of the use of a connecting rod that was deemed too light.
Crew chief Jason Ratcliff was 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 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 toward 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 toward the eligibility for a driver Wild Card position.
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.
Toyota Racing Development issued a statement Wednesday afternoon, taking responsibility for the illegal part and resultant penalty.
“During NASCAR’s routine post-race tear down of Matt Kenseth’s race-winning car and engine from Kansas Speedway, one of our engine connecting rods weighed in approximately three grams under the legal minimum weight of 525 grams,” the statement read. “None of the other seven connecting rods were found to be under the minimum weight. We take full responsibility for this issue with the engine used by the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) team this past Sunday in Kansas — 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 and there was no intent to deceive, or to gain any type of competitive advantage.
“Toyota is a company that was built on integrity, and that remains one of the guiding principles of the company. The goal of TRD has always been — and will continue to be — to build high-performance engines that are reliable, durable and powerful, and within the guidelines established by NASCAR.”
The penalties came a week after NASCAR hit Penske Racing for a pair of $100,000 fines to the No. 2 and No. 22 cars, penalizing drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano 25 points each.