Kenseth, Gibbs and Ratcliff have penalties and fines reduced and rescinded
By: Staff Report, NASCAR Wire Service, Superior Telegram
Today at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel heard and considered the appeal of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team. The penalties stemmed from a post-race engine inspection on April 23 at the facility where NASCAR broke down the race-winning engine as part of its normal post-race inspection process following the STP 400 at Kansas Speedway.
After hearing the testimony and considering the appeals, the panel reached a unanimous decision to amend most of the original penalties assessed by NASCAR.
The penalties concern 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.
Matt Kenseth faced losing 50 driver points, his eligibility into the 2014 Sprint Unlimited for winning the Coors Light Pole award from April 19 for the Kansas race, the three bonus points he would receive if he were one of the top 10 drivers to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup after the 26th race of the season and credit for the win toward his eligibility for a wild-card position in the Chase. The loss of 50 driver points was reduced to 12, moving him from 11th in the points standings to fourth. All other penalties were fully rescinded.
The original penalties assessed to Joe Gibbs, Kenseth’s car owner, included a loss of 50 owner points, no bonus points for the first-place finish at Kansas toward the accumulated owner points total after the 26th race of the season, no credit for the win toward the eligibility for a car owner wild-card position after the 26th race and suspension of Gibbs' owner's license for the No. 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car for the next six points events, making him ineligible to receive owner points during that time. The penalty for 50 driver points was reduced to 12. All other penalties were fully rescinded.
Jason Ratcliff, the crew chief for the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, originally received penalties that included a $200,000 fine and suspension from NASCAR for the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points events, which also includes the non-points NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. After today's hearing, his suspension was dropped to one points event. Once Ratcliff serves his one-race suspension and is reinstated, he will be placed on NASCAR probation for the next three points races. His $200,000 fine remains.
Toyota also received a penalty when the original penalties were handed down: the loss of five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series manufacturer points. Unlike Kenseth, Gibbs and Ratcliff's penalties, the car manufacturer's penalty was upheld and actually increased from the loss of five points to seven.