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By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Jason Ratcliff
Matt Kenseth did his best to put on a brave face following his worst performance of the season, which just happened to come at the worst possible time in his championship battle with Jimmie Johnson.
Johnson widened his lead in the Sprint Cup standings to 28 points over Kenseth heading into next Sunday's season finale at Homestead by finishing third in a workmanlike performance for the five-time champion.
Denis McGlynn had a simple explanation why an appeals panel sided with Joe Gibbs Racing and eased penalties levied against the organization by NASCAR: The harsh punishment simply did not fit the small infraction.
Matt Kenseth has rarely been more pleased in victory than he was this weekend at Darlington Raceway. Maybe that's because of what he overcame to achieve the win.
Matt Kenseth was in Canada when J.D. Gibbs sent him the results of their appeal to NASCAR to reduce sweeping penalties against Joe Gibbs Racing.
A NASCAR appeals panel sided with Joe Gibbs Racing on Wednesday and eased some of the penalties imposed for having an illegal part in Matt Kenseth's race-winning engine at Kansas last month.
A parts review by Toyota after Matt Kenseth's penalty led the manufacturer to pull three engines from Michael Waltrip Racing's inventory as a precautionary move.
Joe Gibbs understands that NASCAR must enforce the rule book and his team deserved a penalty for an illegal part in Matt Kenseth's engine.
Mild-mannered Matt Kenseth is spitting mad at NASCAR.
Kenseth was docked 50 driver points in the standings — two more than he earned for the victory. But he says he's angrier about the penalties given to Gibbs and crew chief Jason Ratcliff. Both were suspended six weeks.
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.
As punishment, Kenseth was stripped of 50 driver points in standings, as well as the three bonus points he earned for the win that would have been applied in seeding for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Crew chief Jason Ratcliff was fined $200,000 and suspended six races. Car owner Joe Gibbs also was suspended six races.
Matt Kenseth's race-winning car from Kansas failed inspection at NASCAR's Research and Development Center, The Associated Press has learned.
Thanks to a repave that led to blistering speeds, Pocono Raceway's track record was topped 36 times.
A glance at the drivers competing in the 2012 Sprint Cup Series:
"I prefer it's them over anyone actually," Ratcliff said after the final practice.
"Everybody's going to say, 'Oh, the pressure got to them,' " he said.