Matt Kenseth: Penalties Are Grossly Unfair

The talk of the town this week has been Matt Kenseth and the penalties his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team was hit with. While the issue was one out of their control, they have to take the penalty. Toyota Racing Development has taken responsibility and issued apologies to everyone involved. However, that doesn’t change the penalties Kenseth will have to endure.

Apr 20, 2013; Kansas City, KS, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Matt Kenseth (20) during practice for the STP 400 at Kansas Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Crew Chief Jason Ratcliff has been fined $200,000, suspended for the next six races and placed on probation. Joe Gibbs has lost fifty owner’s points, the win at Kansas will not count and earn him bonus points, lost his car owner’s license for the next six points races and will be ineligible to earn points for those events. Kenseth lost fifty driver’s championship points, the pole position from Kansas will not count towards the Sprint Unlimited in 2014, and the win at Kansas will not count towards bonus points for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, nor will it count towards a wild card.

What did Kenseth have to say about it all? Here’s a transcript from a Toyota PR rep after asking Kenseth about the penalties:

What was your reaction to the penalties NASCAR announced yesterday? Do you think they were severe?

“I think the penalties are grossly unfair. I think it’s borderline shameful. There’s no argument the part was wrong. They weighed it and it was wrong. However, there is an argument that there certainly was no performance advantage. If you can find any unbiased, reputable, knowledgeable engine-builder and if they saw the facts, what all the rods weighed. The average weight of all the rods was well above the minimum — 2.5 (grams) above the minimum at least. There was one in there that was way heavy. There was no performance advantage, there was no intent, it was a mistake. JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) had no control over it. Certainly to crush Joe Gibbs like that — to say they can’t win an owner’s championship with the 20 this year is just, I can’t wrap my arms around that, it just blows me away. And the same with Jason Ratcliff (crew chief). I don’t feel bad for myself at all, but for Jason and Joe, I just couldn’t feel any worse. There’s no more reputable, honest hard-working guys with good reputations more so than those two — I feel really bad for them.”

Do you expect a positive response from the appeals process?

“I don’t know. I’ve never been through it so I honestly don’t know. That’s the hope, that’s why it’s setup. You’ve seen some examples of both. I don’t know. That’s what the hope is, that’s why it’s setup. We’ll just go through that and see what happens and see whatever the final verdict is — we’ll have to live with that and move on.”

Topics: Joe Gibbs Racing, Matt Kenseth, NASCAR, Sprint Cup Series

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