By AMANDA VINCENT
NASCAR announced on Tuesday evening that Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in the Sprint Cup Series, has been suspended from NASCAR competition for the next two races and placed on probation for six months. The announcement comes as a result of an incident between Kenseth and Joey Logano in Sunday’s Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
“Based upon our extensive review, we have concluded that the No. 20 car driver, who is no longer in the Chase, intentionally wrecked the No. 22 car driver (Logano), a Chase-eligible competitor who was leading the race at the time,” NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell said. “The No. 20 car was nine laps down, and eliminated the No. 22 car’s opportunity to continue to compete in the race.
“Additionally, we factored aspects of safety into our decision, and also the fact that the new Chase elimination format puts a premium on each and every race. These actions have no place in NASCAR.”
Joe Gibbs Racing has announced that it will appeal the penalty based on its severity compared to previous penalties for similar incidents.
The suspension sidelines Kenseth for Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway near Fort Worth, Texas, and the following race weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. Following those two races, the only remaining event will be the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 22.
Kenseth spent time in the garage that put him nine laps down after an incident that also involved Logano’s Team Penske teammate, Joey Logano. Kenseth returned to the track and made intentional contact with then-race leader Logano that retired Logano from the race.
Kenseth had expressed anger toward Logano since an incident between the two drivers two races prior at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan. Late in the Kansas race, Logano ran behind Kenseth. Kenseth blocked Logano several times before Logano, with a faster car, made contact with Kenseth and going to to the Kansas race win.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, also was penalized for intentional contact with David Gilliland at Martinsville that was retaliatory in nature for contact between the two drivers earlier in the race. For her incident, Patrick was fined $50,000 and docked 25 championship points.
Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook: NASCAR Examiner