Matt won the Pole for the STP 400 last Sunday (4/21) and then won the race after a dominating day on the Kansas Speedway. The win was the second of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season for Matt in the #20 Toyota after winning in Las Vegas. The penalties from NASCAR have been assessed after that car did not pass the post race inspection process.
According to the press release from NASCAR press release part of the #20 car did not meet the requirements set forth in the 2013 rule book. The press release states the issue is with a connecting rod in the engine: “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.”
As a result of the rule violation, Matt, his crew chief Jason Ratcliff and car owner Joe Gibbs will all receive penalties for the infraction. Jason has been fined $200,000, has been suspended for the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup championship points events and has been placed on probation until December 31st.
Joe will not receive the car owner bonus points for the Kansas win. His owner’s license has been suspended for the #20 car for the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup championship points events resulting in no owner points for those races.
Matt has lost 50 championship driver points for the rule violation. The STP 400 win will not be counted toward the Wild Card spot in the 2013 Chase nor will the bonus points for the first place finish be added to his 2013 Sprint Cup driver point total. In addition, his Coors Light Pole award from the Kansas race will not be allowed to make him eligible for the 2014 Sprint Unlimited.
While NASCAR appears to be letting the Sprint Cup drivers to have at it between each other on the track, they also appear to be playing it down the line when it comes to the mechanics of the new Gen-6 cars and the rule book. Just a week ago (4/17) NASCAR the #56, #2 and #22 car drivers and teams were penalized for rule violations. The #2 and #22 teams are appealing their penalties.
By: Buck Stevens
(Matt Kenseth photo courtesy of NASCARmedia.com/282571Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)