|Coach Gibbs is smiling today|
The three-member panel – Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment, Inc. President/CEO Denis McGlynn, Stafford (CT) Motor Speedway owner/promoter Mark Arute and former NASCAR team owner Jack Housby – reduced driver Matt Kenseth’s 50-point penalty to 12. An identical owner points penalty for Joe Gibbs Racing was trimmed by an identical amount. That 38-point revision pushes Kenseth back to fourth place in Sprint Cup Series championship standings. Kenseth’s Kansas pole was reinstated, and he will now be credited with three bonus points for the victory, if he qualifies for the 2013 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Crew chief Jason Ratcliff’s $200,000 penalty was allowed to stand by the commission, but a seven-race suspension – encompassing six points races and the non-point Sprint All-Star Race – was trimmed to just one. Team owner Joe Gibbs, whose owner’s license was suspended by NASCAR for seven races, saw that suspension overturned in total.
The commission did increase one penalty, boosting Toyota’s five-point penalty in the Manufacturer’s Championship to seven points.
"We accept the penalties the way they are and are not going to appeal anything,” said Gibbs after the announcement. “We are going to work extremely hard with TRD to make sure this never happens again (and) right now, we just want to get back to racing."
“Glad to have today behind us so we can get our focus back on racing,” said Kenseth via Twitter. “I respect NASCAR and the appeals process, I feel like they got it right.”
NASCAR’s Senior Director of Communications/Competition Kerry Tharp made it clear that the sanctioning body is unhappy with the reversal, saying, "While we are disappointed by today's outcome, we stand firmly behind our inspection process. Our intensity and approach to inspecting engines will not change. We take this ruling and we move on to Darlington.''
NASCAR is not allowed to appeal the decision.