Monday, June 03, 2013

Commission Member Says NASCAR Penalties Too Severe

Dover CEO Dennis McGlynn
Dover International Speedway CEO Denis McGlynn was part of the three-member panel that drastically reduced the penalties assessed by NASCAR for an engine violation on Matt Kenseth’s winning Toyota at Kansas Speedway recently.  

McGlynn explained that decision to reporters at Dover, saying he and his fellow members of the National Stock Car Racing Commission appeals panel felt NASCAR’s sanctions were overly severe and did not fit the crime. 

"The penalty was so severe for what was, in our opinion, a minor infraction," said McGlynn, adding that he and fellow commission members Mark Arute and Jack Housby were "thinking with more flexibility" in the aftermath of a similar ruling by chief appellate officer John Middlebrook the previous week, in favor of Penske Racing.

NASCAR levied severe penalties against Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing, crew chief Jason Ratcliff and Toyota Racing Development after a connecting rod in their Kansas-winning engine was found to be three grams too light in a post-race inspection.

"The engine was out of spec very, very marginally," explained McGlynn. "There were three independent affidavits or personal testimony from engine builders who testified that infraction gave no advantage to the team. In fact, the other push rods were all overweight.

“We felt that since the crew chiefs… are ultimately responsible (for) anything that occurs with the car, we had to leave (Ratcliff’s) $200,000 fine in place to get NASCAR's back and reinforce the notion that these guys are, in fact, ultimately responsible.”

McGlynn said he regrets allowing Kenseth’s victory to count toward eligibility for the 2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, and would reverse that decision if he had it to do again.

While admittedly unhappy with the ruling, NASCAR Chairman Brian France said the sanctioning body remains determined to toe a hard line when it comes to rule violations. "We're usually disappointed when we think we have made a good case for a particular penalty,'' said France, “but that's what you have when you have a true appellate way to resolve differences. That's the system that we have.''


  1. Dave, my apologies for nitpicking, but in the fifth paragraph you mentioned "push rods." First, my spell checker thinks it should be "pushrods." Secondly, and more to the point, should we assume you really meant "connecting rods?"

    1. I identified them as connecting rods in the fourth paragraph. However, Mr. McGlynn referred to them as "push rods" in his quote, which I cited verbatim in the following graph.

    2. Understood. Keep up the good work.