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Matt Kenseth Wins at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Fails Inspection

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Matt Kenseth Wins in New Hampshire

The Toyota team was all cheers and hollers yesterday when Matt Kenseth pulled away down the home stretch to win the Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

He had to fight hard to get his second win of the season and 38th career victory, as rivals Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. had led more than 120 laps before they began to fall back. Kenseth finally managed to get through, followed by Tony Stewart, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, and Greg Biffle.

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Unfortunately for Toyota, the team’s excitement quickly died down after Kenseth’s No. 20 car failed the post-race laser inspection system, which measures everything from tire camber and axle housing to alignment, rocker panels and the main frame rail.

As a result, the crew chief received a 15-point penalty and $25,000 fine, in typical manner for this kind of infraction. Should Kenseth also receive a 15-point hit, he would drop from fourth to fifth in the standings to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

That shouldn’t be much of a concern, however, as Kenseth’s two victories are almost guaranteed to secure him a spot among the 16 Chase contenders regardless of the penalty.

NASCAR could keep Kenseth from carrying over the three bonus points for the regular season when points are reset for the opening round of the Chase, as part of a provision in the rules related to the infraction. It wouldn’t keep him from qualifying but it would make it harder for him to win the whole thing, should it come down to a narrow margin of points.

Jason Ratcliff, crew chief and team spokesman, had no comment about the penalty.

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