NASCAR »

Big win for Joe Gibbs Racing in appeal hearing

Joe Gibbs Racing has scored a big win over NASCAR in its appeal against harsh penalties imposed on the team for running an illegal engine component at Kansas.
Joe Gibbs Racing has emerged largely victorious from Wednesday's appeal hearing against the harsh penalties imposed on the team over an engine component irregularity in its race-winning #20 car at Kansas last month.

In a post-race technical stripdown, NASCAR found that the Toyota unit in Matt Kenseth's car contained one connecting rod among a set of eight that was three grams under the required minimum legal weight. Kenseth was penalised 50 Sprint Cup championship points and the #20 also lost 50 points in the owners' championship together with a six-race suspension from scoring any further points.

Kenseth's crew chief Jason Ratcliff was handed a suspension for six NASCAR Sprint Cup races as well as from the Sprint All-Star exhibition event, and was also served a $200,000 fine.

But on Wednesday, a three-person panel selected from the 49 members of the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel heard JGR's appeal at NASCAR's Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina. Afterwards, Stafford Motor Speedway chief operating officer Mark Arute, Dover Motorsports CEO Denis McGlynn and former team owner Jack Housby issued a ruling that broadly agreed with JGR that NASCAR's penalties had been disproportionate to the original offence.

As a result, Kenseth's penalty deduction has been lowered from 50 to 12 points, moving him back up from 11th to fourth in the standings. The owners' points penalty has been similarly revised, and the suspension of Joe Gibbs' owner licence for the #20 has been overturned entirely meaning that the car will now continue to pick up owner points for the team as normal.

Ratcliff's suspension has been reduced from six Cup races to just one, which will be served at this weekend's Darlington race, and he will now only be on probation until after Pocono on June 9 rather than until the end of the season. However his $200,000 fine has been upheld, the only major sanction to stand unchanged.

JGR had never disputed the violation of the rules, but said that the penalties that NASCAR had handed down to the team were too severe given that there was no competitive advantage and the engine was a sealed plug-and-play item delivered to them from Toyota Racing Development's California assembly plant.

TRD has already accepted the blame for the rules violation and said it was down to a failure to adequately quality check components supplied to them by a third party vendor. “Totally our fault," admitted TRD President Lee White in April. "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."

Toyota will still lose points in the manufacturer championship, with the appeal actually increasing the original five point sanction to seven. White has also not ruled out pitching in to pay some or all of Ratcliff's $200,000 fine, which remains in place. "I'm not going to say 'No' because under the circumstances it's pretty hard to argue that wouldn't be the right thing to do," White had agreed when previously asked, although he did not commit himself either way ahead of the appeal hearing.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Matt Kenseth (L), driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, and Jeff Gordon (R), driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, talk in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 26, 2013 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, gets out of his car after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 26, 2013 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 20, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 16, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/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)
Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, is involved in an on-track incident in front of Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota, and Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, as Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Hormel/Menards Toyota, drives away during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, and Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Hormel/Menards Toyota, race into turn one during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, qualifies for third position Friday, March 27, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Truex, Jr. is third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fifth position Friday, March 27, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Johnson is seventh in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings.(Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, qualifies for 2nd position Friday, March 27, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Newman is sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fourth position Friday, March 27, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Gordon is 22nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Joey Logano (left), driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, poses with Miss Coors Light Rachel Rupert after winning the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 27, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Joey Logano (left), driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, poses with Miss Coors Light Rachel Rupert after winning the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 27, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
JGR president JD Gibbs during the pre-season media tour. January 24, 2013. Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR
JD Gibbs and Joe Gibbs during the pre-season media tour. January 24, 2013. Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 DeWalt Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brian Vickers, driver of the Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota, answers questions from media during a press conference before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. Vickers was forced to withdraw from competition due to blood clots. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet, races during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


Amigo - Unregistered

May 09, 2013 7:26 PM

Three grams under the required minimum legal weight costs $ 200,000 fine and 12 points for driver and constructor is just making money from NASCAR. There's no advantage for 3 grams less weight. Driver should not take responsible for engine parts because he does not get advantage from very small error weight and he is just driver.



© 1999 - 2015 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.