nascar looking into MWR Multiple team orders
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR is reviewing evidence to determine if Michael Waltrip Racing deliberately attempted to manipulate the outcome of the race that set the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field.
NASCAR President Mike Helton told The Associated Press before Sunday's Truck Series race at Iowa that officials in the scoring tower did not immediately see anything to believe Clint Bowyer's spin with seven laps remaining at Richmond was suspicious.
It brought out a caution with Ryan Newman leading Saturday night and poised to claim the final berth in the 12-driver Chase field. Instead, it set in motion a chain of events that led to Bowyer teammate Martin Truex Jr. earning the final berth and Newman losing both the race and a spot in the Chase.
When Bowyer spun to bring out the caution, Helton said race control, located in a suite above the track, could not determine if it was done deliberately to aid Truex.
"We didn't see anything that indicated that anything like that was taking place. And it's natural when everything was as close as it was between who was going to get in and not go in to scratch your heads and try to figure out and wonder why," Helton said. "But we didn't see anything initially (Saturday) night that indicated that, but certainly we'll go back through all the video and everything to be sure, because we take the responsibility very serious to be sure that it's — that everybody has had a fair chance."
An ESPN replay that included communication between Bowyer and his team implied the spin was deliberate. Bowyer was shown the video after the race and denied he spun intentionally, a claim he repeated throughout the post-race activities.
"We had a flat tire or something. It just snapped around," Bowyer said, later adding, "I know it's a lot of fun for you guys to write a lot of wacky things. Go ahead if you want to, get creative. But don't look too much into it."
But the in-car audio framed the situation as his crew goading him into spinning his car to bring out the yellow while Newman, who was battling Truex for the second wild-card berth in the Chase, was leading the race.
"Thirty-nine is going to win the race," Bowyer was told over his radio.
"Is your arm starting to hurt?" crew chief Brian Pattie asked. After a pause, Pattie said, "I bet it's hot in there. Itch it."
Bowyer's car then spun.
NASCAR did not have access to that audio until after the race, and it is presumably among the materials Helton was reviewing Sunday.
Also, it became apparent early Sunday morning that Bowyer and teammate Brian Vickers further aided Truex by taking a dive over the final three laps.
The race resumed with three laps to go and four-time series champion Jeff Gordon poised to claim the 10th spot in the Chase, with Joey Logano in line for the second wild-card.
But Bowyer and Vickers both made pit stops that helped Logano improve his finishing position enough that he claimed the 10th Chase berth, thus eliminating Gordon from contention. It freed up the wild card for Truex, and Gordon was not eligible for the wild card.
The AP reviewed team communications for both Bowyer and Vickers on Sunday, and Vickers was told by MWR general manager Ty Norris to pit because "we need that 1 point."
"We're probably going to pit here on green," Norris says.
"Are you talking to me?" a surprised Vickers asks.
Vickers continued to question the call, at one point asking, "I don't understand, pit right now?"
"You've got to pit this time. We need that 1 point," Norris replies.
"10-4. Do I got a tire going down?" Vickers asked.
Vickers then pitted as the field went green. When he asked after if his crew found anything with the tire, Norris replied, "I'll see you after the race, Brian, I owe you a kiss."
Bowyer's radio communication is not as verbose, but he pitted twice after his spin, and the team called him down pit road for a third time with no explanation as the field went green.
It's not uncommon in NASCAR for teammates to help each other with track position, so on its face, the calls for the two MWR drivers to pit aren't that egregious. But added with Bowyer's spin, fans were crying foul on MWR's actions, especially since it cost both Gordon and Newman spots in the 10-race Chase.
MWR co-owner Michael Waltrip was calling the Truck race for Fox Sports 1 on Sunday and declined to comment to AP, saying he was too busy preparing for the broadcast.
Gordon posted on Twitter that he felt bad for both drivers.
"Was feeling pretty bad about missing the #Chase but after seeing all the details coming out now I feel even worse for @RyanNewman39," he tweeted on Sunday.
Newman downplayed the significance of Bowyer's spin because he said his pit crew still had a chance to put him in position to win the race after the caution.
"They are teammates. I don't know if he looked at the scoring pylon, knew I was leading, it doesn't matter," Newman said after the race. "If that was the case, I'll find out one way or the other. At the same time, we still had the opportunity to make our own destiny and win it on pit road, and we didn't. That being said, we're out."
NASCAR is under the microscope on this one. How they respond is very important to the integrity of the sport. Both MWR drivers MUST be removed from the chase to make this right. As much good as MWR does for the sport, they made a very calculated decision to do whatever they could to get their cars into the chase. And they CLEARLY, BLATANTLY, IN OUR FACES insulted our intelligence. Those actions completely destroy the confidence fans and sponsors have in the sport. I am not a frequent forum poster but this cannot be left unpunished. These are not the old school "if your not cheating your not trying" days this kind of thing cannot be allowed to happen or sponsors and fans will leave for sure. We are watching you NASCAR for now. Do the right thing or that will change.
Nascar better give penalties to MWR. 24 and 39 should be in chase instead. This is stupid cheating that shouldn't be aloud in Nascar and is ruining the sport. If the people in Nascar (Mike Hilton, Robert Pembertion) can't be professional and take care of this (and being very inconsistent with penalties on restarts and etc.) They we need them to be replaced by people who can handle enforcing the rules consistently and putting a stop to idiocy like this.
Yes they are looking into it, but will they have the guts to do anything. Review the video "BOWYER'S LATE CAUTION RAISES QUESTIONS" on NASCAR.com. It has all the info they need to step in and set the Chase prior to Bowyer's fake spin. They should have got their stories straight, was it a sore arm or a flat tire? Listen to what Dale Jr. says on the video. He was having a hard time keeping a straight face.
With as many upset fans, will be interesting to see what NASCAR actually does (if anything) this close to the Chase... If nothing, which most fans predict, I can think of at least 6, 8 maybe 10 fans who plan to drop out!! Everyone is just sick of where Cup has been going, (and it shows) this is the icing on the cake NASCAR!!! Keep in mind that $$ fines mean nothing to these drivers and teams, it's like a fan losing a $20 bill...stings a little at first, but doesn't change anything.....
Not an easy task, but I say reverse the points to before Richmond and or make them line up as they were before the shenanigans and re-run somewhere between 25 and 50 laps to determine whos in the Chase!
Bowyer said he thought he had a flat tire or something. The problem is anyone who cuts a right front tire goes into the wall (to the right). The 15 cuts a right front tire and pulls to the left, really????? The 48 had a front right tire go down but he went into the wall. There is the smoking gun. The 15 probably did not cut the tire until the end of the spin. Had Bowyer spun into the wall nobody would have suspected anything. Can he have adjusted the brakes max to the front and increased the throttle a little while jerking the wheel slightly to the left? That would give the same result. Dale jr said it best; check the gas and braking info from the 15, they have the technology.
How can people be so upset over this? NASCAR CHEATS every race with bogus debris cautions, well timed lucky dogs and the like. All Bowyer and MWR did was what NASCAR does EVERY WEEK!
Michael Waltrip is a cheater. The list of things the not soon enough no talent former driver and car owner has done would never be condoned, even by NASCAR, if his last name wasn't the same as Ol' DW. Anyone remember the tail gate on his truck at Daytona failing as he raced to a cheat win in the trucks? And that is just one of things that are far too many to mention that I haven't heard or read during this whole flap.
I mean....come on. The guy spent a year hawking a book exploiting Dale Sr's death. He has no class and nothing is too low for him. I just feel bad for Newman, Vickers, Logono, Truex, Gordon (who I can't stand) and especially Clint, who not only played Good Nazi for his Fuehrer, but now has to continue to lie in the face of overwhelming evidence to the role he played in this. I'm really hoping he mans up and admits what he did or he'll never live it down.
And now what happens if Truex or Logono win the Chase? Will they be considered a real champion? Not be me they won't.
In the end, NASCAR is reaping what they have sewn. It's a corrupt sanctioning body that exercises complete disregard for the outcome of their events....which is what they are....they aren't races. Slime like the group at MWR are what evolved from the contaminated pond called NASCAR. I'm surprised anyone is surprised.
Where is your outrage all the time Hendrick gets caught cheating? Just look at the of the first three cautions orchestrated by Hendrick.
First caution for debris benefited Gordon and hurt Logano. Second caution for debris benefited Gordon and hurt Logano. Third caution for Johnson hitting the wall benefited Gordon and hurt Logano. Johnson scrapped the wall in a safe place on the front straight. To guarantee he's mess up the track, he took an extra lap to pit.
Go after the really big, stinky fish (Hendrick) if you’re really upset by Bowyer. Leave MWR alone.
I said Friday “It's very important to Rick Hendrick to get Gordon into the Chase. Don't be surprised if a driver he controls (Patrick, Johnson, Earnhardt, Kahne) will cause a problem. I doubt that Newman or Martin feel they owe Hendrick anything. Remember, too, that Harvick and Kurt Busch will be in the Hendrick stable in 2014. Harvick has already made the Chase. If Kurt has a bad race, they both could be a hit man.
So, it does appear Bowyer did it, too. But, where's your outrage about Hendrick controlling NASCAR?
This was blatant cheating and unless NASCAR remedies the situation the whole Sprint Cup Chase will be tainted. This was a clear and unmistakable attempt to influence the championship of a major professional sport. This is the NASCAR equivalent of the Black Sox World Series scandal and the punishments should fit the magnitude of this offense.
Bowyer should be fined and suspended for the remainder of the season. He should be stripped of his 2013 Chase berth as being unworthy of championship consideration. He should also be barred from ever being considered for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR), which had a major fine for cheating in 2007, should be fined, should have Truex removed from the Chase field and have its teams barred from the Sprint Cup Chase for two years. Any MWR employee involved in urging Bowyer to spin his car should be suspended for a year.
The two MWR vacated spots in the Chase field should be given to Newman and Gordon who would in all likelihood have secured berths. Removing the two MWR cars would not penalize Logano who won a spot through no fault of his own.
NASCAR aspires to NFL or MLB status. Let's see if integrity finally trumps sponsorship dollars.
WHAT ABOUT JIMMY GETTING NAILED EARLY IN THE SEASON FOR JUMPING THE LEADER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Edwards gets away with it, JIMMY DIDN'T!!!!!!!!!!!! Stop with your whining about Hendrick....i
ah, Jimmy blew a tire no matter where it happened on the track his tire blew. really? you hate Hendricks, point made, do you work for Nascar also? Lets change the subject so all the ignorant Nascar fans can forget what happened, LOL. At a Texas race I saw Ricky Rudd toss a roll of 200 mile per hour tape out his car and the yellow flew, we laughed as it didn't help anyone, just a case of bad day Im gunna toss something. I love all my racers, thats why I am a race fan but since Nascar went to the we want to be like every other sport direction it has become a joke.Our sport was never like other sports and thats what us REAL fans loved about it. It was unique like us!! So try as you like to switch directions from your MWR team to Hendricks, If you gunna cheat at least try and mask it instead of thinking race fans are ignorant and won't know what just happened!
Where is your outrage all the time Hendrick gets caught cheating? Just look at the of the first three cautions orchestrated by Hendrick.
So, it does appear Boyer did it, too. But, where's your outrage about Hendrick controlling NASCAR?
LOL @ Hendrick "controlling" NASCAR. NASCAR is perfectly capable of cheating on their own thankyouverymuch. I do agree with you that NASCAR cheated last night and cheats during every event (it's NOT racing) every week, but they are just as willing to cheat for Hendrick, Gibbs, MWR or whoever else they think will make for the most exciting show.
I think why people are so outraged over this particular manipulation of the outcome is it was it was so obvious that even the few remaining gullible types that believed NASCAR wasn't corrupt had it blatantly shoved in their faces. It's similar to adults that still believe in Santa finding out otherwise. But the large majority of the people that are ticked off have just grown to accept the other forms of cheating and manipulation of the outcome of the events. Probably a lot of them don't remember NASCAR before well timed Aaron's Lucky Dogs and bogus debris cautions. And probably at least some small percentage see a difference between using rocket fuel to qualify or deliberately skirting the rules by using illegal parts or crashing after a race to cover up their cheating and the contemptuous charade Mikey and his boys pulled on the track.
The outrage comes from a couple of sources. First, it was flaunted in the face of NASCAR's viewers. They perceive this as different from just trying to cheat the cheaters that run NASCAR. Second, the other victims included one of the most popular actors in NASCAR....Jeff Gordon. If it was Newman and Paul Menard there would be some blow back, but it would be fading already. No one would have flipped out if NASCAR threw a fake caution to help Gordon like they did earlier, but they sure as heck would have if it helped Truex and hurt Gordon. But again, it would have been NASCAR doing it and most people, like myself, that care about integrity have long since stopped following it as racing. They would have gotten over it. But this was perpetrated by the actual participants in the show. They haven't accepted that everyone in NASCAR is part of the farce. That hurts.
You're wasting your time trying to point out the hypocrisy of people rooting for their favorites, whether it is Junior Nation, Kryle phans or whoever, this isn't about fan boi crying. It is about someone other then NASCAR stuffing the farce in everyone's face so they have no choice but to accept that fact that what they are watching ain't real.