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Motor Racing

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AUTO RACING

Toyota pulls engines for Waltrip’s team

– 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 two others 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 last 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 and 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.

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

Rain washes out NHRA qualifying

Rain forced NHRA officials to cancel the majority of qualifying for the NHRA SpringNationals in Baytown, Texas.

One round of Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying was completed, and 12 Pro Stock cars made attempts before the rain became steady in the afternoon.

Doug Kalitta took the No. 1 position in Top Fuel, Cruz Pedregon led the Funny Car field, Jeg Coughlin topped the Pro Stock cars, and Hector Arana Jr. was No. 1 in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

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