Another elite organization is facing major penalties Wednesday. The Associated Press first reported that Matt Kenseth’s engine from his winning car at Kansas did not pass NASCAR’s standards at the Research and Development Center.
The AP reported this morning that one connecting rod did not meet minimum weight. Joe Gibbs Racing gets their engines from Toyota Racing Development out of Costa Mesa, California. Joe Gibbs Racing does not make their own engines. The part that failed inspection at the R&D Center may have not gave kenseth any advantage on Sunday when he won. But NASCAR will still hold the 20 team aresponsible for the failed part.
The penalty comes a week after the Penske Racing cars failed pre-race inspection at Texas for illegal rear-end housings. The No. 2 and 22 Penske Racing teams have been penalized by suspension of crew members and crew chiefs for six points paying events. Penske Racing also had points deducted and a $100,000 fine to each crew chief. Penske Racing will make an appeal of the penalties on May 1.
NASCAR is even more strict when it comes to engines. The last person to fail inspection due to parts in the engine was Carl Long. Long was penalized for having an illegal engine in 2009 at the Sprint All-Star race. He had 200 points deducted (equivalent to 50 points with today’s point system), fined $200,000 and suspended for 12 weeks.
Long did get the penalty reduced to eight weeks but has been unable to pay the fine and can not return to the NASCAR garage until he does.
The major penalties have been announced by NASCAR as followed in their press release Wednesday:
· Crew chief Jason Ratcliff has been fined $200,000 and suspended from NASCAR until the completion of the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship points events (a period of time that also includes the non-points NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race) and placed on probation until Dec. 31.· Car owner Joe Gibbs has lost 50 championship car owner points; the first place finish from April 21 at Kansas Speedway will not earn bonus points toward the accumulated aggregate car owner points total after the completion of the first 26 events of the current season and will not be credited towards the eligibility for a car owner Wild Card position; has had the owner’s license for the No. 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car suspended until the completion of the next six championship points events, therefore being ineligible to receive championship car owner points during that period of time.· Driver Matt Kenseth has lost 50 championship driver points; the Coors Light Pole award from April 19 at Kansas Speedway will not be allowed for eligibility into the 2014 Sprint Unlimited; the first place finish from April 21 at Kansas Speedway will not earn bonus points toward the accumulated aggregate driver points total after the completion of the first 26 events of the current season and will not be credited towards the eligibility for a driver Wild Card position.· The loss of five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturer Championship points.
“Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) is aware of the penalty issued by NASCAR today regarding the engine in our No. 20 car used in last week’s Sprint Cup Series race in Kansas. It is our understanding that one of the eight connecting rods on the engine was ruled too light. We are working with our partners at TRD on this issue. In the meantime we will plan to appeal the penalty.”