Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 5/8/13
Joe Gibbs Racing scored a stunning victory on Wednesday when a three-member committee from the National Stock Car Appeals Panel greatly reduced penalties levied by NASCAR against the team for an engine issue found in Matt Kenseth's car after he won at Kansas Speedway on April 21. Crew chief Jason Ratcliff had his suspension cut to one race and the driver and car owner points fines were reduced from 50 to 12 each. A $200,000 fine against Ratcliff remains intact. All other penalties against Ratcliff, JGR and Kenseth were completely rescinded. Kenseth now moves from 12th to fifth in Sprint Cup points. The ruling was a huge victory for Joe Gibbs Racing and was NASCAR's second defeat in two days, as on Tuesday an appeal sharply reduced penalties against Penske Racing for illegal suspension modifications. After the Kansas race, one of eight connecting rods in Kenseth's engine was found to be about 3 grams below the NASCAR-mandated minimum weight of 525 grams. The engine was assembled by T.R.D., USA, Toyota's racing arm, which builds powerplants for many Toyota NASCAR teams. But NASCAR holds teams, not vendors, responsible for the legality of race cars. So after the violation was detected, NASCAR fined JGR 50 driver and car owner points. In addition, Ratcliff was suspended for six races and fined $200,000. NASCAR said Kenseth's Kansas victory would not count toward eligibility for a wild-card position in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, nor would it earn Kenseth the three bonus points awarded to top-10 drivers at the conclusion of the 26-race NASCAR Sprint Cup regular season. The No. 20 was also ruled ineligible to earn owner's points for six races. JGR did not argue that the part was not too light, but said instead that the penalties were too harsh.
PLAYERS: Matt Kenseth
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