Daytona Beach, FL (Sports Network) - NASCAR handed down severe penalties to Matt Kenseth's No. 20 team in the Sprint Cup Series on Wednesday for failing post-race engine inspection following last Sunday's event at Kansas Speedway.
Kenseth, who won the 400-mile race at Kansas, was penalized with a loss of 50 points. His crew chief, Jason Ratcliff, has been fined $200,000, suspended from NASCAR competition for six points-paying races, as well as next month's all-star event (non-points), and placed on probation until Dec. 31. Car owner Joe Gibbs was docked 50 points as well.
Furthermore, Kenseth's win at Kansas will not earn him bonus points toward eligibility and seeding for this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. A driver who qualifies for the Chase is awarded three bonus points for each of his or her wins during the 26-race regular season. Those bonus points are added to the accumulated aggregate driver points total (2,000) following the conclusion of the Sept. 7 event at Richmond International Raceway. Kenseth's win at Kansas is also not credited towards the eligibility for a driver wild card position in the playoffs.
Kenseth's pole win last Friday at Kansas will not be allowed for eligibility into the 2014 Sprint Unlimited (preseason, non-points race) at Daytona International Speedway. It was his first pole victory of the season.
Also included in the penalty is the owner's license for the No. 20 car being suspended until the completion of the next six point races, making the team ineligible to receive championship car owner points during that period of time. A loss of five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturer Championship points has been assessed to the team as well.
According to a news release from NASCAR, "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."
Officials from JGR said they will appeal the penalty.
There were multiple reports on Wednesday morning of the engine in Kenseth's No. 20 Toyota failing inspection after the Kansas race.
ESPN.com reported the violation was discovered during a secondary post-race inspection, which was conducted at NASCAR's Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. Kenseth's car passed the initial inspection after the Kansas event had concluded. NASCAR took his engine back to its R&D center for further evaluation.
The Associated Press also reported the engine in Kenseth's car failed during inspection at the R&D center, noting one of the eight connecting rods did not meet the minimum weight requirement.
After the conclusion of a race, NASCAR normally takes the winning car and randomly chooses another car for additional inspection in Concord.
Kenseth, who is in his first year with JGR, claimed his second victory of the season at Kansas. His first win came last month at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.