CONCORD, N.C. — Joe Gibbs Racing scored a substantial victory Wednesday when the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel heard its appeal of the penalties levied against the team following its victory at Kansas Speedway April 21.
Many of the penalties were reduced following Wednesday’s hearing.
The team was penalized for using a connecting rod that did not meet the minimum weight requirement of 525 grams in the Toyota that Matt Kenseth drove to victory in the STP 400. The violation was discovered two days later during a postrace inspection at the NASCAR Research and Development Center.
The team had no contact with the part in question as it came already assembled in an engine supplied by Toyota Racing Development.
Still, NASCAR levied severe penalties against the team, which were promptly appealed. Denis McGlynn, Jack Housby, Mark Arute and Shawn Rogers made up the appeal panel and voted unanimously to reduce the penalties.
The original fine of $200,000 against crew chief Jason Ratcliff remains intact, however, his suspension has been reduced from six races to one.
Car owner Joe Gibbs was docked 50 championship points and that penalty has been reduced to 12 points. Other penalties against Gibbs, including having his owner’s license for the No. 20 pulled keeping the team from contending for the owner’s championship, were rescinded.
Driver Matt Kenseth was penalized 50 points and that penalty has also been reduced to 12 points. All other penalties against Kenseth were also eliminated.
Toyota, however, saw its penalty of the loss of five manufacturer’s points increased to seven.