Loudon race winner Kenseth penalized for failing post-race inspection

NASCAR levied a P3 penalty on the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team and driver Matt Kenseth on Wednesday.

Loudon race winner Kenseth penalized for failing post-race inspection
Race winner Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Race winner Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota takes the checkered flag
Race winner Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Race winner Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Race winner Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

Kenseth won the New Hampshire 301 but failed post-race in the LIS (Laser Inspection Station). The sanctioning body took the winning car to the R&D center in Concord, N.C. for further evaluation.

Kenseth and the team have been docked 15 driver/owner points, dropping him from eighth to ninth in the championship standings. Crew chief Jason Ratcliff has been fined $25,000.

Two crews previously failed the LIS in post-race inspection this season — the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing team at Michigan last month and the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports team at Dover in May. Both drivers finished in the top five but were docked 15 driver/owner points.

Carl Edwards was the last driver to win a race (Las Vegas, 2011) and not receive three bonus points for the victory when the Chase points were recalculated. NASCAR did not find the No. 20 team's infraction egregious as that of Edwards. Consequently, this penalty will not affect Kenseth's seeding in the Chase.

At Sonoma, the No. 20 team received a written warnings for failing pre-race LIS twice and subsequently lost pit selection for the race.

When crew chief Jason Ratcliff was on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday, he acknowledged every team tests the limits to gain a competitive advantage.

“The competition is so tough that you have to be very good in every area,” Ratcliff said. “Most of the teams — if not all of the teams — are going to push as much tolerance as NASCAR is going to give us and occasionally we get over and we’re going to have to make some tweaks to get across.

“So I would say, ‘no,’ it’s not uncommon at all. On any given race day it’s a dozen cars or more going across it multiple times. It’s about that way every weekend. Even after qualifying, I think there were a couple of issues with several cars having to go across a couple of times because it was so tight. But it’s been that way, every week. We know what the rules are. We know what the tolerances are but we also know that our competition is going to be pushing it right to the edge and if we’re going to be competitive, we have to do the same.”

Kenseth’s JGR teammate, Kyle Busch, lost the pole position at Atlanta in February after the LIS discovered the No. 18 team’s rear toe exceeded specifications.

Kenseth’s second win of the season, and 38th career Cup victory, elevated the No. 20 team to eighth in the point standings.

Although Kenseth will receive the three bonus points for his Dover win, that won’t be the case for New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Joe Gibbs Racing in the only organization with all four drivers qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. JGR Toyotas have won eight of the first 19 races in 2016. Furniture Row Racing, which enjoys a technical alliance with Gibbs, won with Martin Truex Jr. at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Written warnings

Thirteen teams received written warnings for failing the inspection process prior to Sunday’s race.

The No. 3 Richard Childress Racing team failed the LIS three times in pre-race and will lose 15 minutes of practice time at Indianapolis. The No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team failed template inspection three times in pre-qualifying and will also miss 15 minutes of practice on Friday. The No. 22 Team Penske crew failed the LIS twice in pre-race. The No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing team failed the LIS twice in pre-qualifying. For both team it was their first warning. 

The Nos. 1, 3, 6, 10, 14, 15, 19, 21, 42, 47 and 83 teams failed template inspection twice in pre-qualifying.

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