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Kenseth lashes out at 'grossly unfair' penalty

In all probability, the infraction uncovered by NASCAR wouldn't have given the #20 any significant edge in competition last weekend.

"There was certainly no performance advantage if you can find any unbiased, reputable, knowledgeable engine builder and they saw the facts," insisted Kenseth. "There was no performance advantage. There was no intent. It was a mistake."

“It's pretty obvious that when you look at Matt's issue, the pieces and the parts were not that influential to the performance, and probably didn't win him the race,” agreed reigning Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski, whose own Penske Racing team is currently appealing heavy penalties for a technical infraction at Texas, the week before Kansas.

“I think anyone could probably say that," added Keselowski. "But then again, from NASCAR's side, they know that if you give an inch, you've got to give a mile ... It's just a question of whether the penalty fits the crime."

For its part, Toyota Racing Development has accepted full responsibility for the engine not passing a post-race stripdown following Kenseth's win at Kansas last Sunday, after an underweight third-party component ended up being used.

“Totally our fault," admitted TRD President Lee White. "We've never, ever, never, not once, discussed going under the minimum weight on con rods. There is no reason to. This is an accidental occurrence.

"When you're an engine builder and you're not getting 100 per cent engine durability, you're letting your partners down," he added. "It is my job to make sure we have all the parts and pieces and the budget in place to make sure that incidents like this never happen."

TRD vice president David Wilson explained the details of how the problem had come about, when interviewed by the media midweek: "A connecting rod was manufactured under tolerance [by a third-party vendor] and shipped to us, which it should never have been, and we didn't do a thorough enough job in checking the paperwork. We don't do a 100 per cent inspection on every single part."

Wilson told USA Today that the part failed to meet the 525 grams minimum specification by the weight of three paperclips.

"There's absolutely zero opportunity for an advantage by lightening one connecting rod. If you're lightening rods, you're going to lighten all of them because you need the engine in balance," he added. "If we're going to attempt to deceive or cheat by building a lighter engine, you're not going to do it with one connecting rod and not with a rod 2.3 grams out of tolerance.

"We don't play those games, and Joe Gibbs doesn't play those games," he added.




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)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, races to an eighth place finish with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS who finished in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
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Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevy Racing)
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Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/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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