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Joe Gibbs Racing penalties significantly reduced

4:12 PM, May 8, 2013   |    comments
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Concord, NC (Sports Network) - The National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel on Wednesday substantially lessened the fines assessed by NASCAR to Joe Gibbs Racing for an illegal engine used in Matt Kenseth's race-winning last month at Kansas Speedway.

Driver Matt Kenseth and team owner Joe Gibbs will both be penalized with a loss of 12 points instead of the original 50 points. That will elevate Kenseth from 11th in the point standings to fourth. His win in the April 21 race at Kansas will count towards the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, meaning he will earn bonus points towards eligibility and seeding for the playoffs. The Kansas victory will also count towards the eligibility for a driver wild card position, if he were to need one. His pole win at that racetrack will now count as well.

Jason Ratcliff, the crew chief for Kenseth's No. 20 Toyota at JGR, had his suspension shortened from six points-paying races to only one. After Ratcliff is reinstated, he will be on probation for the next three races. His fine of $200,000 remains the same.

The owner license for the No. 20 will no longer be banned. NASCAR had suspended the license for six point races, making the team ineligible to receive championship car owner points during that period of time. The panel did increase the loss of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturer Championship points assessed to the team from five to seven.

JGR's appeal was heard by a three-member panel, which included Dover International Speedway president and CEO Dennis McGlynn, Stafford Speedway general manager Mark Arute and former motorsports team owner Jack Housby. The hearing was held at NASCAR's Research and Development Center in Concord.

NASCAR handed down severe penalties to JGR on April 24 after officials found one of the connecting rods on the engine used in Kenseth's car at Kansas did not meet the minimum connecting rod weight. The violation was discovered during a secondary post-race inspection of his engine at the NASCAR R&D center.

Gibbs will not make a final appeal in front of National Stock Car Racing Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook, who heard Penske Racing's last appeal for rules violations that occurred on April 13 at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Sports Network

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