Matt Kenseth’s engine failed inspection after his win on Sunday at Kansas Speedway and NASCAR hit the No. 20 team hard this week with penalties. Kenseth lashed back during his press conference at Richmond International Raceway on Thursday.
“I think the penalties are grossly unfair. I think it’s borderline shameful. There’s no argument the part was wrong. They weighed it and it was wrong.” Kenseth added.
His argument is that there was “certainly was no performance advantage”.
“If you can find any unbiased, reputable, knowledgeable engine-builder and if they saw the facts, what all the rods weighed. The average weight of all the rods was well above the minimum 2.5 (grams) above the minimum at least. There was one in there that was way heavy. There was no performance advantage, there was no intent, it was a mistake.” Kenseth said.
NASCAR issued a statement earlier this week, in part. “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.”
NASCAR penalized Kenseth 50 points and crew chief Jason Ratcliff was fined $200,000, suspended six races and will be on probation until December 31. Kenseth will also not receive the three bonus “chase” points for the win if he makes the Chase.
“I don’t feel bad for myself at all, but for Jason and Joe, I just couldn’t feel any worse. There’s no more reputable, honest hard-working guys with good reputations more so than those two. I feel really bad for them.” Kenseth said.
The team was also penalized 50 owner points and the owner’s license on the car has been suspended for the next six races and the car will be ineligible to accrue owner’s points during that time.
“JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) had no control over it. Certainly to crush Joe Gibbs like that. To say they can’t win an owner’s championship with the 20 this year is just, I can’t wrap my arms around that, it just blows me away.” Kenseth said.
The team will appeal the penalties and Kenseth is unsure of the outcome or process.
“I’ve never been through it so I honestly don’t know. That’s the hope, that’s why it’s setup. You’ve seen some examples of both. I don’t know. That’s what the hope is, that’s why it’s setup. We’ll just go through that and see what happens and see whatever the final verdict is. We’ll have to live with that and move on.” Kenseth said.