Kenseth and No. 20 team hit with penalties after Kansas
By: Staff Report, NASCAR Wire Service, Superior Telegram
After a convincing win in Sunday’s STP 400 at Kansas Speedway, Matt Kenseth and his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team were on the receiving end of one of the largest points penalties in NASCAR history.
This week, 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.
As a result of the infraction, Kenseth has lost 50 driver points and his Coors Light Pole Award from Friday at Kansas will not grant him eligibility into the 2014 Sprint Unlimited. He will not earn any bonus points toward his accumulated aggregate driver points total after the first 26 races of the season for his win in Sunday's race. Additionally, the win will not be credited toward his eligibility for a Wild Card position in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Joe Gibbs, the owner of the No. 20 car, has lost 50 owner points and will not receive the bonus points toward the accumulated aggregate car owner points after the first 26 races of the season for this win nor will it be credited toward the eligibility for a car owner Wild Card position. The owner's license for the No. 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car has also been suspended until the completion of the next six championship points events, therefore being ineligible to receive car owner points during that time span.
Jason Ratcliff, the crew chief for the No. 20 car, has been fined $200,000 and suspended from NASCAR until the completion of the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points event, as well as May's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. In addition, Ratcliff has been placed on probation until December 31.
Five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series manufacturer points have also been taken away as a result of this penalty.
Toyota Racing Development has issued a statement taking full responsibility for the underweight engine connecting rod that was found to be in violation.
"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," said Lee White, president, TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) in a statement. "It was a simple oversight on TRD's part and there was no intent to deceive, or to gain any type of competitive advantage."
Shortly after the release of the NASCAR penalty, Joe Gibbs Racing released a statement saying it will appeal the penalties.
Earlier in the day, NASCAR announced penalties and fines to the No. 98 team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Johnny Sauter’s crew chief, Joel Shear, was fined $10,000, suspended for the next four truck races and placed on probation until December 31 for unapproved modifications to the fuel cell or its components after it had already been certified. In addition, Sauter and his car owner Mike Curb were docked 25 driver points and 25 owner points, respectively. This violation was discovered during opening day inspection April 18 at Kansas Speedway.