NASCAR upholds Matt Kenseth’s suspension

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Kenseth’s two race suspension from NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition was upheld Thursday after a final appeal.

Kenseth will miss Texas this Sunday and at Phoenix the next.

On Tuesday, NASCAR suspended Kenseth for the next two races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs for his role in a crash with Joey Logano in Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway.

Both Kenseth and team owner Joe Gibbs made brief statements after the ruling.

“Obviously, I’m more than a little disappointed with the decision and the penalties to start with,” Kenseth said. “A couple of facts, which I’m sure you guys will find — I’m the first driver in the 65-year history of NASCAR to get suspended for an incident that happened in the Sprint Cup Series race, so I feel like I was unfairly made the example instead of knowing where the line is, what the penalties are.”

Gibbs shared his driver’s sentiments.

“I just wanted to say, that guy right there has spent 20 years in this sport. He had one other minor infraction, I think it was a $5,000 fine,” Gibbs said. “He has spent 20 years of his life racing in this sport and he’s been great for NASCAR. Our reason for appealing is we felt like this penalty was kind of unprecedented and it was inconsistent with a number of other on-track incidents. One of those is exactly like this one, and yet this penalty against Matt is an unprecedented one.

“I appreciate getting the chance to go through this process. I think we’ve done all we can do, and we’re going to go back to racing.”

The ruling means Kenseth will be eligible to return to competition for the Nov. 22 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“I’m extremely disappointed but we’ll get through this,” said Kenseth, the 2003 premier-series champion. “Look forward to going to Homestead. I’m not going to change who I am. I’m not going to change what I stand for. I’m not going to change how I race. I’ve been in this business for a long time. I feel like I’ve had a pretty good career to this point, and I feel like I’m going to continue to have the respect on the race track that I feel like I deserve. So I’m looking forward to going to Homestead, hopefully going there and getting a win before the year is out.”

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