Matt Kenseth said Thursday the massive penalties that NASCAR levied against the driver and his Joe Gibbs Racing team were "grossly unfair" and "borderline shameful."
NASCAR on Wednesday stripped Kenseth of 50 championship points and suspended his crew chief Jason Ratcliff for several races, among other penalties, because last weekend Kenseth's No. 20 Toyota had an engine part that was too light.
The faulty part -- a rod that connects a piston to the crankshaft and normally weighs just over one pound -- was detected in an inspection after Kenseth won Sunday's race at Kansas Speedway.
But Toyota Racing Development in Costa Mesa, which built the engine, took the blame and said the rod was too light by only three grams, equivalent to two cotton balls, according to the automaker.
"There was no performance advantage, there was no intent, it was a mistake," Kenseth told reporters at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, site of the next Sprint Cup race Saturday night.
"I don't feel bad for myself at all, but for Jason and Joe [Gibbs], I just couldn't feel any worse," said Kenseth, the 2003 Cup champion who joined Gibbs this season. "I just think the penalty is way over the top."
Gibbs Racing is appealing. "We'll just go through that and see what happens and see whatever the final verdict is," Kenseth said. "We'll have to live with that and move on."