Found September 10, 2013 on
By now everyone has obviously heard that NASCAR lowered the boom on Michael Waltrip Racing for what happened at Richmond last Saturday night. I really have mixed emotions about all of it.
I mean, it really broke my heart that after one of the most exciting Richmond races we've ever had, that we weren't event talking about Carl Edwards winning the race, the upcoming Chase and who the favorites were. Instead, everyone was focused on what's been coined "Spin-Gate."
I was very proud that our sanctioning body took this head-on. I felt pretty confident that unless there was over-riding evidence to the contrary, that NASCAR would be handing down some heavy penalties. This was just too big of an issue to be ignored.
NASCAR is a team sport. The reason a car owner has multiple cars in his stable is they can share information back and forth to help each other. I think the clear message that came out of Monday night's penalties was a clear line in the sand of: you cannot manipulate the outcome of a race, and where the line is about helping a teammate.
NASCAR naturally looked at all the evidence in making their decision. That included the radio transmissions between the Michael Waltrip Racing cars, the race video and even sitting down with the folks at MWR to ask some very hard questions.
Our sport is not Formula One. We are not IndyCar. We are NASCAR and our sport is about beating each other on the racetrack. I am very proud that the NASCAR officials have stood behind that. What I did pick up on from their announcement is this isn't necessarily a penalty against a specific driver. This is a penalty against an organization as a whole. That's very unusual in our sport.
NASCAR took 50 points from each of the MWR drivers. They put all three crew chiefs on probation. The $300,000 fine is against Michael Waltrip Racing. Ty Norris, who is a big part of the MWR management group and a spotter on race day, has also been suspended indefinitely. Obviously, the other big hit was the No. 56 car driven by Martin Truex Jr. has been bounced from the Chase, and Ryan Newman has taken his place.
So they really penalized an organization for purposely manipulating the end of a race. That truly was going against the integrity of NASCAR racing. They came up with a sweeping penalty and issued it Monday night.
The one thing I question is that the driver who was holding the steering wheel and using the gas pedal in that race car -- regardless of who was in his ear telling him to do what -- truly on his own spun his car out and started this whole chain of events, but really is receiving no penalty. Sure, he got hit with 50 driver points taken away, but that penalty was assessed BEFORE the Chase points were reset. It doesn't affect his position in the Chase one bit.
Trust me, I don't envy NASCAR's position. They've been through the mill this year with everything they've had to deal with from the various teams. Personally, I would have preferred to see a points penalty that would have affected both Clint Bowyer, who caused the caution, and teammate Martin Truex, who benefitted from the caution, enough to take them both out of the Chase.
I also would have liked to see the two drivers who were taken out of the Chase by the Bowyer caution - Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman - both in the Chase. Obviously, after the penalty was assessed, Ryan was in and Martin was out. However, Jeff Gordon is the guy I truly feel bad for because he did everything right at Richmond to put himself in the Chase, but then it was snatched away from him by MWR manipulation.
You might find it strange, but I also feel bad for Martin Truex Jr. In my heart of hearts I simply don't think he knew anything was about to happen or why it happened. He's out there driving his guts out with a cast on his arm trying to figure out who he needs to get by on the racetrack to make the Chase. He celebrated making the Chase for the second consecutive year Saturday night, but then come Monday night at 8:15 pm eastern he was notified he would not be a participant.
It's not unprecedented for NASCAR to penalize a driver for purposely causing a caution. If you go back a few years ago to the spring Bristol race, Dale Earnhardt Jr. caused a caution to save him from going a lap down. Once it was determined the spin was deliberate, he was penalized. Again, the difference between that and what happened at Richmond is that this time an organization as a whole attempted to manipulate a race, affecting the drivers who would be in the Chase and making a mockery of our sport.
BEST OF MAXIM
Clint Bowyer is denying that he intentionally spun his car in an effort to keep Ryan Newman from winning at Richmond over the weekend.
Bowyer was previously scheduled to spend Tuesday at ESPN before NASCAR sanctioned Michael Waltrip Racing for manipulating the outcome of the race. In his first interview, he said he had apologized to Newman in a phone call for bringing out a caution...
Five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson has denied any wrongdoing in the controversial Chase-deciding race at Richmond International Raceway.
Johnson defended himself one day after Clint Bowyer alleged his race-altering spin at Richmond was no different than when a Johnson mishap brought out a caution earlier in the race.
Johnson, speaking at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday...
Clint Bowyer reaches out to Ryan Newman in aftermath of
controversial spin at Richmond.
NASCAR announced Monday night massive penalties to Michael Waltrip Racing and made it clear they would not tolerate any manipulations of race outcomes. MWR was found guilty, in NASCAR and most public opinion, of violating section 12-4 of the rule book, aka actions detrimental to stock car racing. The penalties[...]
I really think this whole situation with Michael Waltrip Racing is sad. A lot of innocent people got caught up and affected by something that simply shouldn't have been going on.
I think it makes our sport look really bad. Some people might fire back and say, "Yeah, Hammond, but back in the day you all did stuff like this." Honestly, I don't think any of us did...
Michael Waltrip Racing has accepted the penalties levied against them following the events of Richmond International Racway. Well, at-least when it comes to the actions of the No. 55 team. Michael Waltrip, founder and co-owner of MWR released the following statement. “What occurred on the No. 55 radio at the end of Saturday night’s race in Richmond was a split-second decision...
Two of Michael Waltrip Racing's sponsors are reviewing their relationships with the race team following the organization's attempt to manipulate the finish at Richmond.
NAPA Auto Parts posted on its Facebook page Wednesday it is disappointed a partner would make ''such a significant error in judgment.'' NAPA is the sponsor for Martin Truex Jr., who was kicked...
Toyota has elected not to release a statement regarding the recent NASCAR sanctions against Michael Waltrip Racing stemming from what NASCAR vice president Robin Pemberton characterized as an attempt "to manipulate the outcome of the race" at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night.
On Thursday, Ed Laukes, vice president, Marketing Communications and Motorsports...
Concord, NC- NASCAR levied the heaviest penalty in the history of the sport on Monday night.
They docked Michael Waltrip Racing’s Clint Bowyer, Brian Vickers and Martin Truex Jr. 50 points each for their actions at the end of the Federated Auto Parts 400 Saturday night.
In doing so, NASCAR took Truex out of the Chase and put 2013 Brickyard 400 champion Ryan Newman back in.
NASCAR levied record fines against Michael Waltrip Racing on
Monday, but is $300,000 -- not to mention the financial impact
of losing a Chase spot -- enough to ensure that what happened
Saturday night at Richmond never ever happens again?
The regular season is over and Carl Edwards leads the points prior to the reorder for the start of the Chase. He won Saturday night and took a one point lead over Jimmie Johnson. Clint Bowyer (-13), Kevin Harvick (-14), and Kyle Busch (-31) round out the top-5. When they[...]
NASCAR is sitting in a very unenviable position this Monday evening. Since the conclusion of Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400 they have been trying to ride high of the waves that were created by Michael Waltrip Racing and the supposed moves they made to influence the outcome of the race.[...]
With all the talk of Michael Waltrip Racing, Clint Bowyer, spins- intentional or otherwise, Martin Truex Junior, Ryan Newman, and everyone who did or didn't make The Chase...
Here's another element that is being considered about Joey Logano making The Chase- thanks to David Gilliand and Front Row Motorsports. Logano needed Gilliland's position on...