CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to engines, tires and fuel on a race car. Anything even slightly improper is dealt with swiftly and severely. NASCAR always throws the book at offenders.
Matt Kenseth and Joe Gibbs Racing were no exception, getting hit with one of the largest penalties in NASCAR history Wednesday after the engine from Kenseth’s race-winning car at Kansas failed a post-race inspection. The team had nothing to do with the error, and manufacturer Toyota immediately accepted responsibility for one of eight connecting rods failing to meet the minimum weight requirement by 3 grams — less than an empty envelope.
“We take full responsibility for this issue with the engine. JGR is not involved in the process of selecting parts or assembling the Cup Series engines,” Toyota Racing Development President Lee White said.
Kenseth was stripped of everything but the trophy from Sunday’s win at Kansas.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Denny Hamlin wasn’t cleared to race at his home track in Richmond.
Hamlin sustained a compression fracture of a vertebra in his lower back in a last-lap accident at California on March 24. Doctors said he’d miss at least five races, but Hamlin hoped to return early to race at Richmond, where he’s a two-time winner.
But Hamlin wasn’t cleared Wednesday to race after visits to Dr. Jerry Petty of Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates, and apparently consultations with others.
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Penn State backup quarterback Steven Bench plans to transfer, a move that temporarily lessens the field for the starting job this fall.
Nittany Lions coach Bill O’Brien said in a statement that Bench was granted a release to leave the program. He will finish the spring semester at Penn State.