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UPDATE: Big penalties for Kenseth, No. 20 Cup team

Apr 24, 2013, 12:47 PM EDT

STP 400 - Practice Getty Images

NASCAR has announced severe penalties for the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team after the engine of its race-winning car from Kansas Speedway failed inspection at the series’ research and development center in Concord, North Carolina.

Driver Matt Kenseth has lost 50 championship points, as well as the additional bonus points he attained for winning last weekend’s STP 400. His pole run at Kansas will also not be allowed for eligibility into the 2014 Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway.

Kenseth’s crew chief, Jason Ratcliff, has been fined $200,000 and will be suspended for the next six Sprint Cup points events (the period also includes the non-points Sprint All-Star Race). He will also be placed on probation until Dec. 31.

Joe Gibbs has lost 50 championship car owner points and the owner’s license for the No. 20 car has been suspended for the next six points events, which means he cannot accumulate owner’s points during that period.

Toyota has lost five points in the manufacturer’s championship.

In a statement relayed by the AP’s Jenna Fryer, Joe Gibbs Racing said that they were working with its engine designer, Toyota Racing Development, on the issue and that they would plan to appeal the penalties.

TRD president Lee White also released a statement, saying that his company took “full responsibility” for the problem. The statement disclosed that the lighter connecting rod was approximately three grams under the legal minimum weight of 525 grams.

“It was a simple oversight on TRD’s part and there was no intent to deceive, or to gain any type of competitive advantage,” White said.

Kenseth’s car passed regular post-race inspection at the track according to’s David Newton, but the winning engine was taken to the R&D center for further evaluation — a standard procedure after race weekends. The Wisconsin native held off Kasey Kahne in the final laps to win the STP 400 (his second Cup win of 2013), leading a race-high 163 of 267 laps along the way.

  1. whitdog23 - Apr 24, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    if you’re “updating” a story….shouldn’t you take out the old info? the last paragraph is unnecessary and outdated info

  2. jazzyherb - Apr 24, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    When are they going to start taking away the wins from these guys who fail post race inspections? These fines and suspensions mean nothing to the 2nd place car that prob would have won the race if 1st place wasn’t illegal!

  3. noring4youstill - Apr 24, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    Don’t understand why they didn’t just take away the win

    • indycarseries500 - Apr 24, 2013 at 3:21 PM

      So the fans leave the track knowing who the winner was. That’s the reasoning behind it

  4. onepocketshark - Apr 24, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    I think Nascar is totally out of their mind on this one. To assign penalties and fines of this magnitude for the “so called” offense is way out of proportion. Think about it !!!!!!!! If the connecting rods were 3 grams light according to the article, what advantage would that have given to the #20 car. There are 8 connecting rods in an engine, so that means the engine would have been 8/10 of an ounce light. Nascar is off base on this one…..

  5. wallio - Apr 24, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Lighter rods allow the motor to rev higher and thus, make more power. But the reason behind the rule isn’t any advantage: its because if the limit wasn’t 525 grams (or whatever) teams would roll up with 100g rods that cost $50,000 a set, and which would increase engine failures, which also would increase costs. Its about cost control.

  6. buckeye044 - Apr 25, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Bet it wouldn’t have been this severe if it had been a Hendrick car.

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