Appeal Outcome Surprises Kenseth

Matt Kenseth

"Certainly, I think these penalties are way more in line what I initially thought they would be." (Photo: Getty Images)

DARLINGTON, S.C. - Matt Kenseth said he felt confident that Joe Gibbs Racing would have some of its penalties amended at Wednesday’s appeal hearing, but he was surprised what the panel did.

“J.D. kept texting me,’’ Kenseth said of team president J.D. Gibbs. “The texts kept getting longer and longer. I’m like, wait a minute, they did what? They gave us that back?’’

The appeals panel reduced Kenseth’s 50-point penalty to 12, cut crew chief Jason Ratcliff’s suspension from six points races to one and gutted many of the other penalties NASCAR imposed after finding a connecting rod under the minimum weight after Kenseth’s win at Kansas last month.

With getting 38 points back, Kensth moved from 11th to fourth in the standings heading into Saturday night’s Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

Kenseth said he didn’t feel vindicated that many of the penalties were reduced or rescinded.

“Certainly, I think these penalties are way more in line what I initially thought they would be,’’ Kenseth said.

He will be without Ratcliff this weekend. Kenseth is one of three drivers without their crew chief because of suspensions. Penske Racing teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano will be without their crew chiefs for two points races. The suspensions for their crew chiefs and other team members were reduced this week by the chief appellate officer a day before JGR’s hearing before the appeals panel. Former crew chief Kevin Buskirk will be Keselowski’s crew chief. Engineer Steve Reis will be Logano’s crew chief with Greg Erwin, crew chief for Sam Hornish in the Nationwide series, also on the pit box for Saturday’s race.

Kenseth will have Wally Brown as his crew chief this weekend, but Kenseth said he won’t have to change what he does.

“Wally has been around the sport forever,’’ Kenseth said. “He’s been a crew chief for different people, he’s been a head engineer, he’s been an engineer on a team.

“He’s got enough help out there. He’ll be able to figure it out when to pit, when not to pit and figure out adjustments, so I don’t think it really changes much.’’

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, Matt Kenseth

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