NASCAR and Gibbs talk about #20 team penalties

NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton discussed NASCAR's penalties to the #20 team Friday afternoon:
PEMBERTON: As everyone knows there are a few things that are understood in the garage area that are big. When you talk about engines, you talk about tires, and you talk about fuel. That's a common thread that's been understood, and it's stood the test of time for the last 65 years. Don't mess with those areas, and the penalties are severe. But when you look in the case of an engine, the only time we really get a chance to look internally at an engine is post-race. Some of our most severe penalties over time have surrounded engine infractions.

Q. Why was the team penalized rather than the manufacturer?
PEMBERTON: That's tough too. Because when you look at, in their particular situation, we probably don't know all the details, but we do know they come from an outside vendor for the most part, and I don't know how you would go — it's very difficult to go to an outside vendor and penalize them whether it's springs or shocks or parts that are bought and bolted on race cars. That's why in today's world we all know and relate to the fact that it stops at the crew chief and stops at the owner and stops at the organization that is here to compete.

PEMBERTON: It's a part that didn't meet spec. It's not a gray area. There are numbers in the books. If you look at numbers in the books and what's going on in the garage area and across our national series those numbers for a connecting rod have been in the book since around the time we went to a single-engine rule, which is probably 12 years ago. So you take that and the amount of engines and engine components in the garage area, and then every given weekend it's done right the vast majority of the time. NASCAR

#20 team owner Joe Gibbs also addressed the media Friday at Richmond:
Joe Gibbs: I want to say that we value our NASCAR partnership very much. We've been together, working together for 22 years and we value our relationship with them. Certainly, we do not want to be on the wrong side of any rules. That's our goal. I wanted to emphasize that. I want to make a point [that] we have a great partner in TRD (Toyota Racing Development). Over the six years we've been together at different times — this is a big deal, a lot of things come up — NASCAR's a big deal for us and a big deal for TRD. It's what we live. Through the process over these six years at different times we've stood behind them as we go through something — in support and be there with them. At different times, they have been behind us. That's what good partners do. We think we have a great partnership with them and we're going to stand together and work our way through this and again try to handle it the right way. We believe that we are going to be together for a long time. I think everyone at this point has probably heard that in tearing down our motor after last week's win, one of the connecting rods was found to be light. That goes against the rules and we understand that. We know that there's going to be a penalty for that. What we're going to appeal is the severity of the penalties. In looking at that motor and where all the connecting rods were placed and the weight of all the connecting rods, when you have motor experts look at it basically what they would say is there is no advantage to having that one light rod in that motor. That's one thing that is very important to me is the intent here was not to get an unfair advantage in any way. That's very important to me. The other point that I would like to make is since we started out this year there has been 10 TRD motors torn down — eight of them have been Joe Gibbs Racing motors. Nothing with those other motors has found to be wrong in those motors in anyway. Those motors were found to be legal there. I think basically that's what our appeal is going to be. We want to go forward and go through that process and what we'll be appealing will be the severe nature of the penalties." Toyota Motorsports

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