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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)
Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development, speaks to members of the media after a testing session at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
David Ragan, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, stands in the garage during a testing session at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Clint Bowyer drives the #15 5-Hour Energy Toyota during a testing session at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Regan Smith, interim driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS finishes in sixteenth place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS finishes in fifth place, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS finishes in 33rd place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Gordon, who led for 87 laps,  was involved in a multi-car incident on the last lap. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS pulls into his pit on his way to a second place finish in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Percision Chevrolet, lead the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, race three-wide during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Smoke pours from the #2 Miller Lite Ford, driven by Brad Keselowski, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Kellogg/Cheez-It Ford, races Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 ENEOS Chevrolet, and Ryan Reed, driver of the #16 Lilly/American Diabetes Association Ford, during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Erik Jones, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #6 Ford EcoBoost Ford, and Landon Cassill, driver of the #01 Flex Seal Chevrolet, race three-wide during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Daniel Suarez, driver of the #18 ARRIS Toyota, Carlos Contreras, driver of the #15 BurnieGrill/BubbaGrill/LillyTrucking Chevrolet, Landon Cassill, driver of the #01 Flex Seal Chevrolet, and Blake Koch, driver of the #8 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Toyota, are involved in an on-track incident during qualifying for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin in the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at Daytona. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/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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