TRD pulls three Bowyer motors after parts review

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Toyota Racing Development has recalled three of its engines that were earmarked for Michael Waltrip Racing pilot Clint Bowyer following a parts review. According to Jenna Fryer of the Associated Press, TRD pulled Bowyer’s engine for tonight’s race at Richmond International Raceway, as well as his primary and backup motors for next weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Per Fryer, the parts review found at least one connecting rod in each of the three engines that made Toyota squeamish, especially in the wake of the major sanctions levied against Matt Kenseth and his Joe Gibbs Racing squad this week.

“We took every connecting rod in our inventory and removed anything that was too close for comfort,” TRD vice president David Wilson said to the AP.

“They are using an abundance of caution right now,” MWR team co-owner Rob Kauffman added in Fryer’s piece. “They know — David knows — this cannot happen again.”

One of the rods in Kenseth’s race-winning engine from last weekend at Kansas Speedway did not meet the minimum weight requirement. As a result, Kenseth was docked 50 championship points, while crew chief Jason Ratcliff was hit with a $200,000 fine and a six-week suspension. In addition, Gibbs had his owner’s license suspended for the next six weeks. Toyota also lost five points in the manufacturer’s championship.

JGR has appealed the penalties, and TRD, which makes the engines for the Gibbs and MWR camps, claimed responsibility.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.