Nascar: Toyota recalls engines

The Associated PressApril 27, 2013 

NASCAR Richmond Auto Racing

Matt Kenseth, front right, leads the field at the start of Saturday night's Toyota Owner's 400 Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway. The race was not finished in time for this edition.

STEVE HELBER — The Associated Press

  • Toyota Owners 400

    Saturday’s Lineup

    At Richmond International Raceway

— 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.

All three engines recalled were earmarked for Clint Bowyer. One was his engine for Saturday night’s race at Richmond; the other two were his primary and backup engines for Talladega.

“We took every connecting rod in our inventory and removed anything that was too close for comfort,” Toyota Racing Development vice president David Wilson told The Associated Press.

The review found that there was at least one connecting rod in each of the three Bowyer engines that left TRD uncomfortable in the wake of Kenseth’s issue.

NASCAR found this week that one of the eight connecting rods in Kenseth’s race-winning engine from Kansas did not meet the minimum weight requirement. The engines are made by TRD out of Costa Mesa, Calif., and then shipped to Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing in North Carolina.

The teams unpack the engines and install them in the cars, and have no access to the parts or pieces inside.

Still, NASCAR levied harsh penalties against Kenseth and JGR that essentially stripped the team of everything but the trophy. Kenseth was docked 50 points, as well as the three bonus points he earned in Sunday’s win. Crew chief Jason Ratcliff was fined $200,000 and suspended six races, and team owner Joe Gibbs had his license on the No. 20 Toyota suspended for six races.

Toyota was docked five manufacturer points.

The issue began when the manufacturer shipped the connecting rod to TRD even though it was outside the tolerance the manufacturer allows on weight. It came with paperwork that clearly stated its weight, and that was missed by TRD employees.

Kenseth then won the race, which automatically means his engine is taken back to NASCAR’s Research & Development Center in North Carolina for a thorough inspection. It was there that NASCAR found one of the eight rods to be too light.

JGR is appealing the severity of the penalties, and TRD is accepting full responsibility for the mistake.

Now the manufacturer is backtracking to double-check everything in inventory while reviewing its quality control practices.

“There should be some check along the way,” Wilson said. “When it wasn’t caught in receiving, then it should have been caught on a visual inspection. In this instance, the first level of failure was that the part was shipped to us at all. The second level of failure is we didn’t intercept it.”

TRD’s head engine builder has a Monday morning meeting in Germany with the manufacturer. Although Wilson has declined to identify the manufacturer, it’s believed that Toyota switched vendors sometime in the past few years to Mahle.

MWR team co-owner Rob Kauffman met with Wilson to discuss the Gibbs incident and said TRD was working to correct the quality control issues.

1.20Matt KensethToyota130.334
2.11Brian VickersToyota130.303
3.24Jeff GordonChevy130.252
4.5Kasey KahneChevy130.183
5.15Clint BowyerToyota130.158
6.42J. Pablo MontoyaChevy129.851
7.22Joey LoganoFord129.758
8.18Kyle BuschToyota129.633
9.56Martin Truex Jr.Toyota129.596
10.55Mark MartinToyota129.577
11.9Marcos AmbroseFord129.565
12.17Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Ford129.552
13.1Jamie McMurrayChevy129.534
14.78Kurt BuschChevy129.422
15.39Ryan NewmanChevy129.385
16.31Jeff BurtonChevy129.372
17.29Kevin HarvickChevy129.366
18.7Dave BlaneyChevy129.292
19.88Dale Earnhardt Jr.Chevy129.187
20.34David RaganFord129.162
21.14Tony StewartChevy129.112
22.83David ReutimannToyota129.112
23.2Brad KeselowskiFord129.032
24.51A J AllmendingerChevy128.915
25.30David StremmeToyota128.811
26.48Jimmie JohnsonChevy128.78
27.35Josh WiseFord128.743
28.99Carl EdwardsFord128.725
29.27Paul MenardChevy128.719
30.10Danica PatrickChevy128.7
31.33Landon CassillChevy128.682
32.47Bobby LabonteToyota128.608
33.16Greg BiffleFord128.516
34.43Aric AlmirolaFord128.351
35.98Michael McDowellFord128.053
36.93Travis KvapilToyota127.956
37.38David GillilandFordPoints
38.19Mike BlissToyotaPoints
39.36J.J. YeleyChevyPoints
40.13Casey MearsFordPoints
41.87Joe NemechekToyotaPoints
42.32Timmy HillFordPoints
43.52Brian KeselowskiToyotaPoints

The State is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service