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Kenseth lashes out at 'grossly unfair' penalty

Matt Kenseth has hit out over the "grossly unfair" penalties that NASCAR has levied on Joe Gibbs Racing for an under-spec component in the Toyota engines.
Matt Kenseth didn't hold back when asked what he felt about the penalties that NASCAR imposed on his Joe Gibbs Racing team mid-week, after a single one of eight connecting rods in the #20 car's Toyota engine was found to be too light.

“The penalties are grossly unfair,” Kenseth said on Thursday during a scheduled media availability at Richmond International Raceway ahead of this weekend's Sprint Cup race. “It's borderline shameful."

Kenseth has lost 50 points in the Sprint Cup championship, and the #20 car has also been stripped of the same amount of owner points. Joe Gibbs himself has been told his owner licence for the #20 has been suspended for the next six Cup events meaning it will earn no more points in the interim, while the crew chief Jason Ratcliff has been handed a six-race suspension and a $200,000 fine despite having no direct control or responsibility for, as the engine is supplied ready-assembled by Toyota Racing Development.

"All the engine work is done in Costa Mesa, California,” Kenseth explained. “JGR does have a Nationwide engine shop but they do not work on or even look at any Cup engines ... They show up on a truck or an airplane, get taken out and get bolted in the car.

"JGR had no control over that. To crush Joe Gibbs like that and say they can't win an owners championship with the #20 this year, I just can't wrap my arms around that," he said. "It just blows me away. The same with Jason Ratcliff. I don't feel bad for myself at all. But for Jason and Joe, I couldn't feel any worse.

"You're going to have people that know absolutely nothing about the whole situation and call you 'cheaters," he fumed. "There's no more reputable, honest, hard-working guys with good reputations more so than them two. I feel really bad for them."

"We raise our hand and say, 'I'm responsible for this race car from the time we get to the racetrack to the time we get through post-race inspection,'" Ratcliff himself told Sirius/XM Radio on Wednesday. "[But] the reality of it is ... there's no way one individual could put his finger on every part and piece."

However, Ratcliff was convinced that given Kenseth's form so far since the driver joined JGR at the start of 2013, the heavy penalties did not mean the end of their championship hopes: "Fifty points is something I feel strongly we can overcome," he said. "I think we'll continue to go out each week and be successful. In a few weeks, it'll be a thing of the past and be right back where we belong."

"I think if anybody can come back from it and get us in a spot to have a shot at winning a championship, it's my group," agreed Kenseth. "Honestly, I feel like I have the strongest race team in the garage."




Related Pictures

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Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 The Home Depot/Husky Toyota, leads a group of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 400 at Kansas Speedway on April 21, 2013 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 The Home Depot/Husky Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 400 at Kansas Speedway on April 21, 2013 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 The Home Depot/Husky Toyota, and Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, lead the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 400 at Kansas Speedway on April 21, 2013 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Geoff Burke/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, speaks with crew chief Jason Ratcliff during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 7, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo Credit: Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS stops in the pits on his way to his win Sunday, March 1, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS races to victory Sunday, March 1, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS celebrates his victory with a burnout Sunday, March 1, 2015 after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS celebrates his victory Sunday, March 1, 2015 after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, lead the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Fisher Nuts/Menards Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Fisher Nuts/Menards Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Fisher Nuts/Menards Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Fisher Nuts/Menards Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ben Kennedy, driver of the #11 Local Motors Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmie John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet, suffers a mechanical issue during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
David Ragan, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, drives in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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Joe - Unregistered

April 26, 2013 2:03 PM

Good Grief NASCAR.. Use some common sense!!!.. yes the One Con Rod was under the limit.. but shake your head.. It would not have given them the slightest advantage, in fact it could have caused a breakdown, due to engine imbalance.. Yes Laws are Laws, but that is why we have judges, to use some Common Sense..Something that is sadly lacking in this case..

Banditfan

April 26, 2013 4:33 PM

Joe, I agree completely. As you point out the difference of a couple of grams on one rod could only hurt not help an engine. A simple fine would have been adequate in this case. NASCAR's response of a six race owner license suspension is out of all proportion to the violation.



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