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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)
Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on August 30, 2015 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on August 30, 2015 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota Toyota, races with Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on August 30, 2015 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota Toyota, leads a pack of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on August 30, 2015 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cameron Hayley, driver of the #13 Cabinets by Hayley/The Carolina Nut Co. Toyota, leads a pack of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on August 30, 2015 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cameron Hayley, driver of the #13 Cabinets by Hayley/The Carolina Nut Co. Toyota, races with Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota Toyota, during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on August 30, 2015 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, leads a pack of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on August 30, 2015 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Pro Services Chevrolet, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, lead the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Gregory Shamus/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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