LONDON: The Racing Journal


VALLEY STREAM, N.Y. — The severe penalties, fines and sanctions NASCAR issue to the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 is far beyond the ridiculous, even for NASCAR.

A post-race teardown after Matt Kenseth’s win at Kansas revealed a connecting rod three grams lighter than allowed.

This proves the theory of many. NASCAR isn’t in the racing or entertainment business. They are just plain bullies, through and through.

I am not a mechanic or engineer, but I think I know enough to realize that one slightly light connecting rod, can’t enhance an engine’s performance.

A set of eight lightweight rods could help and engine reach more RPMS but a single one is “just along for the ride.” As most know, the eight cylinders and pistons are “in concert” and one lighter one could not change an engine’s output. In fact, it would unbalance an engine making problems likely, which didn’t happen.

If NASCAR felt the engine was tainted, why not put it on a dyno and read its brake horsepower readings? Simply compare it to other Toyota engines and then it would be known if Kenseth did have an advantage.

Kenseth won the pole and dominated the race. Therefore, in NASCAR’s mind, he had to be cheating. This arbitrary set of penalties will probably ruin the entire season for this team. Kenseth stated that a couple of pistons were above the minimum weight and the average weight was proper. If this is true, the engine wouldn’t turn any higher RPMs.

The culprit was Toyota Racing Development, which supplies the engines. Kenseth, crew chief Jason Radcliffe and owner Joe Gibbs were the ones who will pay dearly.

This follows NASCAR’s flagging of Penske Racing two weeks ago for rear-end housings which didn’t suit them. In the 50 years or so that Roger Penske has been in racing, I can never recall him being penalized for a rules violation.

NASCAR is crossing the line of decency. Nothing is gained from this. NASCAR should concentrate on better racing. Nobody really cares about these trivial findings.



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