Motorsports: NASCAR has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to engines, tires and fuel on a race car. Anything even slightly improper is dealt with swiftly and severely. NASCAR always throws the book at offenders.
Matt Kenseth and Joe Gibbs Racing were no exception, getting hit with one of the largest penalties in NASCAR history Wednesday after the engine from Kenseth’s race-winning car at Kansas failed a post-race inspection. The team had nothing to do with the error, and manufacturer Toyota immediately accepted responsibility for one of eight connecting rods failing to meet the minimum weight requirement by 3 grams — less than an empty envelope.
“We take full responsibility for this issue with the engine. JGR is not involved in the process of selecting parts or assembling the Cup Series engines,” Toyota Racing Development President Lee White said.
In the past week, NASCAR has levied more than $450,000 in fines, suspended nearly a dozen crew members for upcoming points races as it punishes teams for rules violations involving the cars themselves.
Kenseth was stripped of everything but the trophy from Sunday’s win at Kansas.
Kenseth was docked 50 driver points in the standings — he earned only 48 points for the victory — and NASCAR also erased the three bonus points he earned for the win that would have been applied in seeding for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. In addition, the victory will not be credited toward his eligibility for a wild card berth in the Chase.
The penalty to Kenseth, who held off Kasey Kahne of Hendrick Motorsports to earn his second win of the season, dropped him from eighth to 14th in the standings.
NASCAR also suspended crew chief Jason Ratcliff for six races and fined him $200,000. And in a rare move, car owner Joe Gibbs had his owner’s license suspended for the next six races and he won’t earn car owner points during that time.
JGR said it would appeal.
• Sauter penalized in Truck Series: Johnny Sauter lost the Truck Series points lead after NASCAR penalized him for an illegal fuel cell at Kansas.
Sauter was docked 25 points by NASCAR. It knocked him from first place into a second-place tie with Jeb Burton, 13 points behind new leader Matt Crafton.
Blackhawks clinch NHL’s best record
NHL: Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists and the Chicago Blackhawks secured the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time in 22 years with a 4-1 victory over the host Edmonton Oilers.
The Blackhawks (35-6-5) held off the Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins for the top regular-season record in the NHL.
• Red Wings keep playoff hopes alive: Jordin Tootoo netted the go-ahead goal early in the third period, and Johan Franzen scored on a power play with 6:26 left, lifting the host Detroit Red Wings to a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings and into eighth place in the Western Conference.
Detroit is one point ahead of Columbus and one behind seventh-place Minnesota. All three teams have two games remaining.
The Red Wings are aiming to extend their postseason streak to 22 seasons, the longest in North American professional sports.
• Hat trick for St. Louis: Martin St. Louis scored three goals and Tampa Bay snapped a six-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over visiting Toronto.
• Coyotes edge Sharks: Mike Smith stopped 33 shots, and the Phoenix Coyotes prevented visiting San Jose from moving up in the Western Conference standings with a 2-1 win over the Sharks.
Foster scores twice as Oil Kings tie series
WHL: T.J. Foster had two goals and an assist and Michael St. Croix scored once and set up three others to lead the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings to a 7-3 win over the Calgary Hitmen to tie the Western Hockey League Eastern Conference final at 2-2.
• Winterhawks take command: Nicolas Petan scored two goals and Mac Carruth had 29 saves and the visiting Portland Winterhawks defeated Kamloops Blazers 3-0 in the WHL Western Conference final. Portland leads the best-of-seven series 3-1.
Lewandowski scores four goals in win
Soccer: Robert Lewandowski scored four goals and Borussia Dortmund took a huge step toward reaching the club’s second Champions League final with a 4-1 walloping of Real Madrid at Dortmund, Germany.
With victory in the first leg of the semifinal, Dortmund, the only unbeaten side remaining in the competition, made it six wins in six at home and extended Madrid’s run of six consecutive defeats in Germany.