JGR's appeal to be heard May 8
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The National Stock Car Racing panel will hear on May 8 the Joe Gibbs Racing appeal of penalties on Matt Kenseth's Sprint Cup team.
Crew chief Jason Ratcliff, who was suspended for six weeks after Kenseth's winning car failed a secondary postrace inspection following the April 21 Kansas race, will remain with the team at least through this weekend's race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Kenseth was penalized 50 points in the standings, and Ratcliff was suspended for six races and fined $200,000 because a connecting rod in the engine of his Toyota weighed 2.7 grams less than the minimum requirement.
The 2003 Sprint Cup champion, Kenseth also lost the three bonus points he earned for the win that would have been applied in seeding for the Chase for the Championship. His pole, which would have made him eligible for the 2014 Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway, also was rescinded.
Also, Joe Gibbs had his owner's license suspended for six races pending the appeal, meaning he won't earn car owner points during that time.
Kenseth called the penalties "grossly unfair'' and "borderline shameful'' last weekend at Richmond International Raceway.
JGR will argue:
• The rod was too light because of a mistake by a vendor that supplies parts to engine builder Toyota Racing Development, which has taking full responsibility for the violation.
• The rod did not give Kenseth a competitive advantage.
• Several other of the eight connecting rods were up to 4 grams more than the minimum weight, which means the average weight of the eight rods met the minimum requirement.
• The penalties were too severe for all the reasons above.
Kenseth said anybody in the garage with an unbiased and reputable opinion would say the part in question did not provide him with a competitive advantage.
"I just think that the penalty is way over the top for that," he said. "It wasn't anything trying to gain an advantage. It wasn't an advantage -- it was a mistake. That should have been taken into account."
Meanwhile, Penske Racing will have its appeal heard Wednesday of penalties given to defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski and teammate Joey Logano for unapproved rear housing parts discovered prior to the April 13 race at Texas.
Each driver was docked 25 points, and seven crew members were suspended pending appeal.
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