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Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs and Jason Ratcliff win a big victory in NASCAR's appeals 'court'

Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs and Jason Ratcliff win a big victory in NASCAR's appeals 'court'

Kaylin Nicola, atop Matt Kenseth's shoulders, is probably happy with Wednesday's decisions (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   For the second straight day, a stock car racing appeals panel rejected a heavy NASCAR penalty on a Sprint Cup team. This time a three-man NASCAR committee overturned hefty penalties on the Joe Gibbs-Matt Kenseth-Jason Ratcliff team for an engine violation discovered after Kenseth's Kansas 400 victory April 21st.
    The Wednesday afternoon decision was sweeping.
    Ratcliff, Kenseth's crew chief, had a six-race suspension slashed to just one race.
    Gibbs, as owner, and Kenseth, as driver, had 50-point penalties cut to just 12 points. (A point is approximately equivalent to one finishing position.)
    The rest of Gibbs' penalties were rescinded; the rest of Kenseth's penalties were rescinded.
    That, essentially, puts Kenseth back in the championship race. He has had one of the strongest cars at most races this season, his first with Gibbs and Toyota after 14 years with Jack Roush and Ford.
    The engine in question was discovered to have a piston connecting rod slightly lighter than rules allowed. That engine, as are all Toyota engines, was provided by Toyota's Los Angeles-based TRD operation, and teams are not allowed to inspect or alter anything in those engines.
    While NASCAR's penalties on the engine violation may be relatively clear-cut by the book, and engine violations have long been hit hard by NASCAR, that part of the rule book clearly may need to be rewritten.
    The corporate aspect of engine design is relatively new, and NASCAR rules do not currently accommodate that. The only penalty that could be assessed Toyota in this issue is a loss of manufacturers' championship points; NASCAR officials originally penalized Toyota five points, a number that appeared to have no particular reason. The appeals panel increased that to seven points
   The panel did uphold the $200,000 fine on Ratcliff.
     The three NASCAR-appointed men on the appeals panel: Dover president Denis McGlynn, industry executive Jack Housby, and promoter Mark Arute.


Finally Some Common Sense Used

Now that's a fair penalty, and what it should have been all along. Dock them a few spots and move on. It was an infraction, but certainly not egregious and it certainly did not give Kenseth any advantage. NASCAR still looks like a bunch of idiots for making the suspensions that heavy to start with.

This isn\'t 1980 anymore.If a team is

This isn't 1980 anymore.If a team is caught cheating take the win away plain and simple.Don't worry about fines and penalties just take the race away.
Why go through all this hoopla .There isn't a driver out there who finishs second who wouldn't take the win without a victory lane celebration.
Nascar says the people leaving the race need to know who the winner was.Do you think anyone really considers a cheater a winner.

That being said anyone who knows anything about racing knows that rod didn't help anything at all but it was still wrong so it should be a dq.
Take the win away all the points the pole just like they were never there.

nascar considers the chase a improvement and that's debatable.I hate to see a team work all season to be in the lead then have it slashed so someone else can get a shot.[They already had a shot].
Nascar doesn't embrace change unless its on there terms.Nascar says they want to move the sport forward but then crap like this moves it back.

Drivers don't know what to say or do.When asked a question they are almost afraid to answer it now.nascar says......

drivers have at it......but don't talk about it
Tony can talk....Brad, shut up
denny says the cars need some improvement....nascar 25 grand, baby!
Tony tries to jump on logano.....nascar says he did nothing wrong.
newman lets nascar have it......it's ok, we already got his money before.
waltrip gets caught [intent]; toyota is caught red-handed twice
jr johnson gets caught with a big motor.Fined lost points driver tossed for 6 races crew chiefs tossed.....gibbs slapped on the hand.

nascar needs someone to run this dog and pony show nascar is turning itself into.
cheating with sterno...it's ok let him race.
carl long's bore was.0005 over .......He was banished by nascar
jimmie johnson gets caught with wrong c pillars.....nascar lets him go

NASCAR penalties

Come on Mike, be honest, you know this BS. That panel has never cut penalties on their own, let alone pretty much made them non-existent. At minimum the race should not have counted, and the crew suspensions should have stayed, they had an illegal engine period. So I guess you just need to let someone else build your motor, then you don't have to responsible for it if it's illegal.
This is all about Toyota pressuring NASCAR to let them maintain a real shot at their first Sprint Cup. If Kennseth can't win one for them this year, no one else has a chance to win one for them. NASCAR being who they are is more than willing to sell them one if necessary. With each and every one of these fiasco, the get more and more like Big Time Wrestling.I know you need to make a living Mike,and you make that off of NASCAR, but do you really expect anyone to buy any of this BS


Mike you might know this answer: did any other manufacturer in the history of the sport build engines for all their teams like Toyota is doing. My opinion is this should be banished. the manufacturers should make parts and give technical support and engines and cars should always be built by a third party.

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