MWR penalties knock Truex out, put Newman in Chase

For the first time since the inception of the Chase for the Sprint Cup format, NASCAR has changed the players involved after the field had already been set. Michael Waltrip Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. was one of the 12 drivers to make the Chase following Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway as recipient of the final wild card spot. But come Monday evening, Truex was out and Ryan Newman was in.
“Obviously, we’re very pleased with NASCAR’s decision to provide Ryan Newman’s rightful place in this year’s Chase,” Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Tony Stewart said. “NASCAR was put in a very difficult position Saturday night at Richmond, and we commend the sanctioning body for taking the time to do the necessary due diligence to ensure that the right call was made.”
Controversy plagued the final laps of Saturday night’s race, with most of that controversy coming from MWR. There was a spin, thought to be intentional, from Clint Bowyer in an effort to help Truex claim a wild card spot. Also Brian Vickers, another Michael Waltrip Racing driver, slowed and headed down pit road under green-flag conditions for no reason, other than to help Joey Logano, a Penske Racing driver, run in a position that would keep Logano in the top-10 of the points standings. The idea was to keep Logano in the top-10 to make sure he wouldn’t use up the wild card MWR wanted to go to Truex.
As a result of Michael Waltrip Racing’s collective actions in the Richmond race, all three Sprint Cup teams — No. 15 (Bowyer), No. 55 (Vickers) and No. 56 (Truex) — were docked 50 driver and championship points apiece. The pooints penalties were assessed following the Richmond race, but before the seeding, or points adjustment for the Chase. That 50-point penalty knocked Truex out of Chase contention and moved Newman into the Chase. Prior to the penalty and Chase adjustment, Truex and Newman were tied in both points and wins (one each) for the final wild card spot. Truex was awarded the wild card by tie-breaker.
In its penalty announcement, NASCAR citied section 12-4 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the NASCAR rule book.
“What occurred on the No. 55 radio at the end of Saturday night’s race in Richmond was a split-second decision made by team spotter Ty Norris to bring the No. 55 to pit lane and help a teammate earn a place in the Chase,” team owner Michael Waltrip said. “We regret the decision and its impact. We apologize to NASCAR, our fellow competitors, partners and fans who were disappointed in our actions. We will learn from this and move on.”
The penalties didn’t stop there, though. MWR was fined $300,000. Executive Vice President/General Manager and spotteer for Vickers, Norris, was indefinitely suspended from NASCAR competition.
All three crew chiefs — Brian Pattie (15), Scott Miller (55) and Chad Johnson (56) — were placed on probation until the end of the year.
“Based upon our review of Saturday night’s race at Richmond, it is our determination that the MWR organization attempted to manipulate the outcome of the race,” NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said. “As the sport’s sanctioning body, it is our responsibility to ensure there is a fair and level playing field for all of our competitiors, and this action today reflects our commitment to that.”

– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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Tags: Chase For The Sprint Cup Jr. Martin Truex Michael Waltrip Racing NASCAR Ryan Newman

  • Dave Brown

    What a bunch of whiny babies Tony Stewart fans have become! Congrats on becoming the 2010 version of Jeff Gordon. You’re so popular Nascar will do anything to get a SHR car into the chase, including holding other teams to different standards the go against Nascar tradition. Gordon’s in the lucky dog? Throw the yellow. SHR can’t change tires? Penalize Truex for doing nothing. How ironic that Tony Stweart fans have become what they hate.

    • d1032

      Man, you hate Tony Stewart bad!!!

    • mmcowby

      I think you might have SHR issues……”Stay Thirsty My Friend”

  • Ruth Boldrey

    I guess I will stop watching nascar.

  • Ruth Boldrey

    I will stop watching Nascar.

  • d1032

    Disqualify all MWR cars from the championship run – if you have to cheat to win then go back to the garage and stay there.
    There is always “cheating” in racing – always attempting to get an edge in some fashion or other right up to limits of the rules – and cheating isn’t cheating until you get caught.
    But this was obviously flagrant and all those involved should realize that their radios are monitored – if you are going to pull something this sophomoric at least utilize “code words” that are not so obvious.

  • BatRastardson

    I find it interesting that anyone affiliated with NASCAR was actually smart enough to cook up such a plot.

  • GrayGrantham

    Momma always said “NASCAR is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get”

    Its OK to push another car around the track, but not OK to make an unnecessary (as determined by who exactly?) pit stop to help a car advance in the standings?

    Restart penalties are enforced this week but not enforced next week? The definition of a restart penalty may change from week to week (translation depending on who commits the infraction we may or may not let you get away with it) Interesting that the exact same circumstances applied to different drivers yield different results. Some are penalized others are not…

    There are a million ways a driver (or teams) can manipulate outcome by playing the rules as opposed to actually racing and that is what makes NASCAR a corrupt sport.

  • GrayGrantham

    There are three drivers in the Chase who have not won a race this year; Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kurt Busch and Clint Boyer.

    There are three drivers who actually won a race but are not allowed in the Chase for the Sprint cup; Martin Truex Jr, Tony Stewart and David Ragan

    I understand that NASCAR wants to reward consistent efforts to compete, but would it really kill them to reward ALL who have actually won a race? If they just added all winners regardless of points standings this year it would only expand the chase field form 12 to 15 drivers.

    Watching drivers race half way around teh track, turn off the motor and coast half way around the track is ridiculous. “Saving Fuel” has become a staple of eh sport and its insane. The entire points system is detrimental to the sport in every aspect..

    If they want to have a separate “chase”, fine. But remove the point system. If you win a race you are in. If there are not enough race winners to fill the field, go to the most 2nd place finishes and so on.. THE POINTS SYSTEM SUCKS.