NASCAR after reviewing what happened near the end of the race Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway has penalized Michael Waltrip Racing for manipulating the outcome of the race.
NASCAR listened to the communications between Clint Bowyer and his pit crew that lead them to believe Bowyer’s spin was deliberate. Additional evidence also suggests Michael Waltrip Racing had Brian Vickers and Clint Bowyer take a dive during the last three laps of the race so Joey Logano would keep Jeff Gordon from making the chase field as extra help for Truex.
With seven laps left in the race, Ryan Newman was leading when Clint Bowyer spun bringing out a caution. The caution would lead to Newman not winning the race and giving Truex Jr. the 12th and final spot in the chase. A Newman win would have given that final spot to Newman himself and not Truex.
Michael Waltrip Racing was fined $300,000, and general manager Ty Norris received an indefinite suspension. Truex, Bowyer and Vickers were each docked 50 points, but Bowyer’s deduction does not affect his position in the Chase.
NASCAR president Mike Helton said. “We penalize to not have this happen again. It’s a message from the league saying You can’t do this.
NASCAR did not adjust the standings to put Gordon into the Chase because Helton said it was impossible to address all the scenarios.
“We know from experience, if you try to look at ripple effect, you can’t cover all bases that’s equitable and credible across the board. There’s a lot of chatter, but we didn’t see any conclusive evidence.”
Jeff Gordon posted his reaction to NASCAR’s ruling on Twitter.
The first race in the chase is this coming Sunday in Chicago.