It looks like Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, the final race for drivers to claim a spot in the 12-man Chase for the Sprint Cup postseason to determine the series champion, at least as far as controversy is concerned.
After the smoke, at least somewhat, cleared with the announcement of penalties on Monday evening for Michael Waltrip Racing after that organization seemed to manipulate the outcome of the race, attempting to affect which drivers did and didn’t make the Chase, new allegations have surfaced regarding a possible deal between Penske Racing and Front Row Motorsports.
According to published reports, The Associated Press reviewed in-race radio communications from Saturday night’s race between Front Row Motorsports driver David Gilliland and his spotter in which the spotter asks Gilliland to let Logano pass him for a position on the track. Logano was in the top-10 in points following the Richmond race, beating out Jeff Gordon for the 10th spot by a single point, equal to one position on the race track.
In the communication reviewed by AP, someone thought to be Gilliland’s crew chief Frank Kerr asked where the request came from, to which the spotter replied, “We’ve got the big dog and all his cronies.” It is thought that the big dog is a high-up representative from Ford. Both Front Row and Penske field Fords.
The voice, thought to Kerr, then replied, “Travis knows what I’ve been asking for.” The Travis mentioned is thought to be Travis Geisler, Competition Director at Penske Racing.
The conversation continued after the race when the spotter commented, “Hopefully, we’ll get something out of that.
Also worth nothing, FOX Sports also reported questionable communication between Logano’s No. 22 Penske Racing team and Gilliland’s No. 38 Front Row Motorsports team.
In regards to the Penske/Front Row allegations, NASCAR released the following statement on Wednesday:
“NASCAR is aware of reports about the No. 22 and No. 38 radio communications at Richmond International Racewaay and is looking into it, but has yet to see anything in full context that requires any action.”
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR