I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big Nascar fan. I never miss a race. If I can’t be there, I watch it on TV. If I can’t do that, I’m watching on my phone. Yes it’s an addiction. It is my one thing that helps distract me from the stress and anxiety we face on a daily basis. I love it, well all kinds of racing actually. But especially Nascar.
Today the governing body of Nascar made an unprecedented move to address some collusion between drivers and race teams as it turns out at the Richmond race. It’s actually the 2nd race that occurs at Richmond’s International Raceway. The September race sets the final field for The Chase, the final 10 races of the season that determine the Sprint Cup Champion.
Jeff Gluck, USA TODAY Sports reported the situation on Sept. 8th “Conspiracy spin by Clint Bowyer?” stating: As questions swirled around Clint Bowyer’s late-race spin at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night – an incident that altered the Chase for the Sprint Cup field with a caution.
Nascar was forced to investigate the incident, especially after fans bashed the spin and the drivers involved on Twitter. Overwhelmingly fans called for penalties to be levied against Michale Waltrip Racing (MWR), the team that owns the #15 Clint Bowyer ride. It wasn’t until the investigation began that the full extent of what happened during the Richmond race surfaced. And it was damning evidence.
The spin along with the communications between spotters, crew chiefs and drivers of MWR piled a lot of conclusive evidence against the team for manipulating the outcome of the race. The entire incident was designed to ensure Martin Truex Jr. in the #56 MWR car, made it into the Chase. And after the race he was in. Celebrations began for the 12 Chase Drivers, hats were handed out and the class picture was taken.
But the field wasn’t set in stone, at least not yet. Jeff Gluck’s report on the final outcome includes a transcript of the communications between the MWR drivers and their teams. See Ryan Newman in Chase after NASCAR Penalty. Nascar was forced to review all evidence from the spin to the communications to determine if it’s rule to maintain the integrity of Nascar was broken, hindered or bent a little.
After the review Nascar decided the rule was broken, it’s integrity had been compromised and they levied the heaviest fine in the series history on MWR. 50 driver points were taken from each team, along with 50 owner points, also from each team. In addition the team overall was fined $300,000 and their Executive Vice President/General Manager Ty Norris; who does double duty as Spotter for MWRs third team was suspended indefinitely.
Penalties and fines were handed out to the results of the Richmond race. That meant the driver points to get into the Chase were reset. Sadly that meant the car MWR was trying to hard to get into the Chase was now out of the Chase. The driver who would then qualify for the Chase, the #39 driven by one of our favorites, Ryan Newman for Stewart-Haas Racing was now in.
“It’s bitter sweet” said Newman at this weekends Chicago race. Explaining that he believes Truex didn’t know anything about what happened. Adding the #56 deserves to be in the Chase too. But as a result of the penalty, a new Class photo was required to include Ryan Newman and remove Martin Truex Jr.
But we’re not done yet. This week FoxSports broke a story that communications between the teams of Joey Logano #22 Penske Racing team and David Gilliland #38 Front Row Racing team. During Saturday night’s race at Richmond these two swapped positions that favored Logano’s effort to make the Chase.
There of course is some conspiracy theories about this. Michael Waltrip works for Fox Sports as a commentator. Isn’t it interesting that they’re the ones who blew the whistle on another team that is accused of doing the same thing as they did? Well, according to fans, it’s not the same thing. Gilliland didn’t spin out affecting the entire field.
Gilliland was asked by his team to slow down and allow Logano to pass and pick up a point for the position. This was prior to the Clint Bowyer spin. Before the #22 of Logano had a chance to pass the #38 of Gilliland, the spin occurred. The two cars re-started side by side after the caution and Logano took the front position. In effect, taking the pass here on the restart.
Telemetry noted that Gilliland was racing nearly a full second off his previous pace in order for Logano to remain in front of him for the checkered. And indeed Logano finished 22nd, Gilliland 23rd.
Nate Ryan of USA Today Sports shared his view and the transcript of the conversation between drivers and teams in “NASCAR investigating Joey Logano, David Gilliland“. And investigate they did. While they tempered their penalties on these two teams, sighting inconclusive evidence of what could have, would have happened had this not occurred. Nascar owner and CEO Brian France held a news conference with his President Mike Helton to address this latest issue.
They announced that Penske Racing and Front Row Racing were both put on probation till the end of the year, December 31, 2013. A penalty for actions detrimental to the integrity of Nascar. But in an unprecedented move, which Brian France has the authority to take, Nascar decided to add a 13th team to the 2013 Chase field. With that decision fan favorite Jeff Gordon for the #24 Hendrick team is now in the Chase.
Today is the 13th day of the month. In 2013. For the first time ever, Nascar has a complete bakers dozen, 13 Teams in the Chase for the Cup.
They need a new picture. News has come that a new Class picture will be taken on Sunday before the Sprint Cup race.