Penalties against Kenseth, Gibbs team substantially reduced

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A day after Penske Racing’s penalties were reduced by NASCAR’s Chief Appellate Officer, Joe Gibbs Racing also had its heavy handed penalties cut down following an appeal.

Matt Kenseth, who was originally docked 50 points, has had that number cut down to 12. Other penalties were also rescinded, and thus his second win of the year at Kansas is once again eligible for bonus points to be used to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Joe Gibbs’ 50 owner points penalty was also reduced to 12. Crew chief Jason Ratcliff’s suspension was dropped from six points races down to one.

Toyota’s manufacturer points penalty, however, was increased from five points to seven.

Kenseth, who originally called the penalties “borderline shameful,” was pleased with the outcome.

“Glad to have today behind us so we can get our focus back on racing,” Kenseth tweeted Wednesday. “I respect NASCAR and the appeals process, I feel like they got it right.”

Verizon confirms IndyCar title sponsor role exit after 2018

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As perhaps expected, Verizon has confirmed Friday it will end its role as Verizon IndyCar Series title sponsor following the end of its fifth year in 2018.

Reports surfaced shortly after this year’s IndyCar season finale at Sonoma Raceway that Verizon was re-evaluating its role within the series.

Indeed, as it was before becoming title sponsor in 2014, Verizon will remain a partner with Team Penske despite not also carrying the series title sponsor role.

In a statement, Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles thanked Verizon for its support in this overall series role.

“Verizon has been a super sponsor and will continue to be so through all of next season. We appreciate that they reached their decision in a timely way so that we can thoughtfully and deliberately go back into the market for 2019,” Miles said in a statement, via Sports Business Journal.

Roger Penske also issued a statement, also via SBJ, saying, “We want to thank Verizon for the support they have provided the IndyCar Series and the role they have played as they helped us grow the sport as the title sponsor for the past five years. Verizon has helped the series reach new fans through their world-class activation and technology, including the Verizon IndyCar Mobile App. While they will no longer be the Series Title Sponsor after 2018, it is exciting they will still be in the sport through their relationship with our organization.”

The Verizon IndyCar Series has built a wave of momentum over the last few years with its competition level, parity and enthusiasm for some revived events, with Gateway Motorsports Park and Road America standing out as highlights being brought back after an extended hiatus.

The good news for INDYCAR (sanctioning body) is that there’s a new Dallara universal aero kit that’s been busy with testing the last few months and is now in the hands of manufacturers for manufacturer testing, and the series announced long-term extensions with Dallara, Chevrolet, Honda and Firestone earlier this year. New series champion Josef Newgarden has also been busy in a number of media events and appearances since the Sonoma season finale.

With this confirmation, INDYCAR has a new entitlement sponsor to find and a new TV contract to sort, with both existing contracts up after 2018.