Matt Kenseth was clearly the car to beat in Kansas last weekend, winning the pole, leading the most laps, and finishing in victory lane for his second win of the season. Kenseth became the third straight winner from the pole position, something that has not happened since 1985.
However, in post race inspection, Kenseth would be found to have illegal connecting rods in the engine. NASCAR released an official statement:
“The No. 20 car was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-5.5.3 (E) (Only magnetic steel connecting rods with a minimum weight of 525.0 grams will be permitted; connecting rod failed to meet the minimum connecting rod weight) of the 2013 rule book.”
The penalties were the harshest NASCAR has ever put and their message was clear…don’t push the limits. If we find you, you will pay the price and possibly miss the chase because of it.
Here is a list of the penalties imposed:
1. A $200,000 fine;
2. A six-race suspension for crew chief Jason Ratcliff, and probation till Dec. 31st;
3. A 50-point penalty, plus loss of Kansas bonus points, for both Kenseth in the driver standings and team owner Joe Gibbs in the owner standings;
4. The race win will not count toward the ‘wild card’ playoff spot;
5. Gibbs himself will have his owner’s license suspended for the next six Sprint Cup points events, meaning he and the team will receive no championship points over that span;
6. Kenseth’s Kansas pole will not count toward eligibility in the 2014 Sprint unlimited shootout at Daytona;
7. Toyota will lose five points in the manufacturers’ championship standings.
This comes just a week after Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano were hit with major penalties that are being appealed, with a hearing scheduled for May 1st.