It’s as if last week’s race at Kansas never happened. The 364 laps, the grueling Kansas heat, and the sweet taste of victory after a long day at the race track. That’s exactly what happened to Matt Kenseth when he was docked 50 driver points after failing post-race inspection due to a part in the engine.
Matt Kenseth failed inspection due to an engine rod being deemed below the minimum weight of what NASCAR allows for such a part. NASCAR issued a statement on the penalty stating:
“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.”
In addition to being docked 50 driver points, and dropping from eighth to fourteenth place in the standings. His crew chief Daniel Radcliff has been suspended for the next six point races (not including the All Star race at Lowes Motor Speedway). On Friday, Kenseth spoke in a press conference at Richmond Motor Speedway stating that the penalties were “grossly unfair”, and that “there was no performance advantage given to the car due the engine part”.
Kenseth is not alone in being penalized this year. Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex jr, and Denny Hamlin were also penalized this season. Logano and Keselowski were docked 25 driver points at Texas for an illegal part in the rear end housing. Martin Truex Jr also was penalized at Texas for his car being too low to the ground in post-race inspection, and Denny Hamlin was fined $250,000 for criticizing the handling of the new Gen 6 car during a post-race interview at Phonix International raceway.
Since Matt Kenseth does plan to appeal the penalties given by NASCAR, his crew chief will not have to serve his suspension until NASCAR reaches a final decision during the appeal hearing. Penske racing got their appeal hearing scheduled for May first to overturn the harsh penalties given to them by NASCAR just two weeks ago.
The Sprint Cup Series heads to Richmond International Raceway this weekend for some Saturday night under the lights short track racing. It is really anyone’s guess who will win, but even more of a mystery who will be penalized next?