NASCAR severely penalizes Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing for illegal engine

Todd Warshaw

An illegal engine found in his race-winning car cost Matt Kenseth and Joe Gibbs Racing dearly, as NASCAR imposed significant penalties Wednesday.

In NASCAR there are certain things you don't mess with and most prominently is the engine.

That lesson was reinforced Wednesday when NASCAR came down heavily on Joe Gibbs Racing for an engine violation it found on Matt Kenseth's car following his victory Sunday at Kansas Speedway.

Kenseth was docked 50 driver points, crew chief Jason Ratcliff was suspended six points races -- including the All-Star Race -- and fined $200,000. In addition, the No. 20 team will not be allowed to accrue owner points in the next six races.

Furthermore, Kenseth was also stripped of his Kansas pole award. While he will technically keep his win, he will not be credited for the victory if he makes the Chase by finishing in the top 10 and will not receive a three-point bonus. The win will also not count towards any wildcard eligibility.

With the points deduction Kenseth falls from eighth in the standings to 14th, 25 points behind 10th-place Jamie McMurray.

NASCAR in a release said the connecting rods in Kenseth's engine didn't meet the minimum weight requirements: "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 engines for Joe Gibbs Racing are manufactured and supplied by Toyota Racing Development and in statement TRD president Lee White called the violation "an oversight" and absolved JGR of any wrongdoing: "We take full responsibility for this issue with the engine used by the No. 20 (JGR) team this past Sunday in Kansas -- JGR is not involved in the process of selecting parts or assembling the Cup Series engines.

"It was a simple oversight on TRD's part and there was no intent to deceive, or to gain any type of competitive advantage."

JGR plans on appealing the penalties.

Kenseth joined JGR after 13 seasons with Roush Fenway Racing and won in March at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. His teammate Kyle Busch also has two victories this year and in all three victories their cars passed technical inspection.

This marks the second time in as many weeks that a prominent team in the garage has been levied with major sanctions.

After rear suspension parts were confiscated from the Penske Racing cars of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano April 13 at Texas Motor Speedway, NASCAR took 25 points away from each driver and issued six-race suspensions for their crew chiefs, car chiefs, and lead engineers along with the competition director for Penske. Both crew chiefs were also fined $100,000.

Penske is appealing the penalties in a case that will be heard May 1.

More from SB Nation:

NFL mock draft: Thursday looms

Pet plays from NBA playoff teams

Matt Kenseth wins STP 400 at Kansas

Graeme McDowell wins 2013 RBC Heritage

Derek Jeter out through All-Star break

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