After a disappointing Sunday in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Aaron’s 499 for Matt Kenseth at Talladega Superspeedway, the penalties for his Joe Gibbs Racing team were eased at the NASCAR appeal board today. The penalties were levied against Kenseth’s team after post-race inspection from his win at Kansas Speedway revealed an engine rod that was slightly off weight.
NASCAR cracked down hard on this violation by taking 50 points away from Kenseth and Joe Gibbs Racing in the owner’s points. Jason Ratcliff, Kenseth’s crew chief, was also charged a fine of $200,000 and was suspended for six races with probation lasting until the end of the year.
Today at the appeal board it was decided that the penalties were too harsh for the crime. They were all decreased except for an increase to a loss of seven points for Toyota in the manufacturer standings. The other points penalties were decreased from 50 to 12 raising Kenseth to fourth in the Sprint Cup points standings behind Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. His win, bonus points, and pole were all also re-validated to be effective come Chase time once more.
This mercy shown by NASCAR comes in a week that has been full of it. On Tuesday the penalties to Penske Racing were also decreased in a final appeal panel. Ryan Newman‘s disparaging comments from Sunday at Talladega after getting wrecked by an air bound Kurt Busch were also forgiven with no disciplinary action by NASCAR officials. Brad Keselowski also apologized to David Ragan for blaming a wrong restart for his win and Keselowski’s lackluster finish.
It’s all very nice and cheerful, but don’t expect it to last too long because this is NASCAR where the boys have at it on a regular basis. The visit to the Lady in Black at Darlington Raceway should set off some tempers and feuds.