Following his win at Kansas Speedway, NASCAR deemed Matt Kenseth’s motor to be illegal. A connecting rod was found to be approximately 2.7 grams underweight when NASCAR weighed it during the tear down of the race winning No.20 car from Kansas. The other seven connecting rods were each a few grams to the good and perfectly legal. As a result, NASCAR dropped the hammer on the JGR team.
Today, Joe Gibbs Racing got the chance to appeal those penalties before the appeal board, and in quick sense, won their appeal.
Crew Chief Jason Ratcliff still has to pay his $200,000 fine, but will only be suspended for this weekend’s race at Darlington Raceway, rather than the original six week suspension.
Matt Kenseth will only lose 12 driver’s championship points, instead of the original 50. His Coors Light Pole Award will allow him to be eligible for the 2014 Sprint Unlimited. Also, his win at Texas – he will be able to use those bonus points accumulated when the Chase standings is set for the final 10 events. If he is in positions 11 through 20 in the standings, he will be allowed to use it towards gaining a Wild Card Position.
Car owner Joe Gibbs will only lose 12 championship car owner’s points, instead of the original 50. His owner’s license for the No. 20 car has been unsuspended, allowing him to earn championship owner’s points. Originally, it had been suspended for a six week period.
Instead of losing five manufacture championship points, Toyota will now lose seven points as a result of taking blame with regards to the rod.
“Tough week for everyone. No one wanted this to happen. We are going to work extremely hard with TRD to make sure this never happens again,” Gibbs said afterwards. “Right now, we just want to get back to racing.”
The panel that overheard the appeal consisted of Dover International Speedway CEO Denis McGlynn, former team owner Jack Housby and Stafford Speedway general manager Mark Arute.
“Our intensity and approach to inspecting engines will not change,” NASCAR spokesperson Kerry Tharp said. “While we are disappointed by today’s outcome, we stand firmly behind our inspection process. Today is one that we disagree with. We can’t be clearer than that.”
Tharp added that NASCAR cannot speculate on intention behind the infraction, but rather needs to look at whether the behavior is against the rules or not.