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Penalty decreased for Gibbs, Kenseth

The SportsXchange

NASCAR reduced the penalties against Joe Gibbs Racing after the team's owner appealed the sanctions against his crew and driver for using an illegal engine part during the Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway in April.

A three-member National Stock Car Racing Commission appeals panel decreased the points penalty against driver Matt Kenseth from 50 to 12 and the suspension of crew chief Jason Ratcliff from six races to one. The additional points elevated Kenseth from 11th to fourth in the season standings.

Gibbs also successfully lobbied for Kenseth's Kansas victory to count toward Chase for the Championship contention and for Gibbs to be able to collect owner points for the next six races.

Gibbs argued that his team wasn't responsible for a connecting rod being 2.7 grams too light while the other rods were over the minimum weight.

He contended that the blame falls on Toyota Racing Development, the engine maker that had its manufacturer points penalty increased from five to seven.

"We are going to work extremely hard with TRD to make sure this never happens again," Gibbs said. "Right now, we just want to get back to racing."

Ratcliffe still faces a $200,00 fine. He will serve the suspension this week at Darlington and then will be on probation for the following three races.

NASCAR defended its inspection process and sanctions.

"In violations such as these, we have no other recourse in the reinforcement process than to penalize the team owner and team members," spokesman Kerry Tharp said. "That's how our system works."
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