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Matt Kenseth escapes major NASCAR penalties after race-winning car fails technical inspection

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Despite failing postrace inspection, NASCAR is allowing Matt Kenseth to keep his New Hampshire win and the bonus points that go with it.

Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Matt Kenseth was penalized 15 points and crew chief Jason Ratcliff was fined $25,000 after Kenseth's race-winning car failed a postrace technical inspection Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

NASCAR, however, is allowing Kenseth to keep the victory and the three bonus points awarded for the win that will apply to his Round 1 total in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. That could be a significant advantage when NASCAR's playoffs begin in September, as all 16 playoff drivers have their point totals reset to 2,000 for the beginning of the Chase, plus three additional points for any regular season victory.

Last year, Kyle Busch proved just how valuable bonus points are when he avoided a first-round elimination thanks to the 12 bonus points he accumulated via four wins during the regular season. Busch would then go on to win his first series championship.

In essence, because Kenseth is virtually qualified for the Chase on the strength of having won at New Hampshire and in May at Dover International Speedway, the points deduction issued on Wednesday is rather meaningless. Ratcliff was also not placed on probation.

Kenseth's Joe Gibbs Racing-owned car failed the postrace laser inspection system station that measures various areas pertaining to the chassis including alignment, tire chamber and axle housing. NASCAR did not specify which area Kenseth's Toyota failed.