Bowyer accused of ‘Crashgate’-style race fixing

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    Clint Bowyer has been accused of spinning on purpose during last weekend’s race at Richmond to help team mate Martin Truex Jnr in the championship. Both driver for Michael Waltrip Racing.

    Saturday’s race was the last round before NASCAR’s ten-race Chase for the Cup begins. Under NASCAR’s points system, only the top ten drivers at this point may continue to compete for the title, plus the two drivers in positions 11 to 20 who have the most wins.

    Bowyer is accused of deliberately spinning to cause a caution period to compromise Ryan Newman’s chances of winning the race. Had he won, Newman would have beaten Truex to the final Chase position by dint of having two wins to to one.

    But during the caution Newman lost the lead, finishing third. That meant Truex claimed the Chase position as both drivers have a win apiece, but Truex’s next best result is second to Newman’s third.

    In-car radio from the race shows Bowyer was told Newman (in car number 39) was leading, then given a seemingly cryptic message about his arm, shortly before spinning:

    Did Bowyer do for Truex Jnr what Piquet Jnr did for Alonso at Singapore in 2008? And what should NASCAR’s response be?


    FUNNY in the 5 year anniversary of crashgate


    “And what should NASCAR’s response be?”

    – Who cares, it´s NASCAR. ;)


    It also seems the third MWR driver, Brian Vickers, was part of this, but was not in on it.

    This is just crazy and confusing and is made worse by the chase system NASCAR uses.


    The other day I was thinking about what we would be saying if Hulkenberg was leading when his teammate, Paul di Resta crashed in the last laps of the 2012 Brazilian GP. Wouldn’t we all say it happened on purpose?

    Anyway, on topic. This was definitely on purpose, but I don’t know what the penalty is going to be.


    I am pretty sure it’s done a lot in nascar.
    I remember after crashgate that it was said to happen very often on ovals.

    But yeah it looks like nascar will do something about this, it’s clear they did it on purpose.


    I know nothing about NASCAR, but if I were to come away from this having learnt something, it’s that Clint is a terrible liar. Not even close to convincing. lol


    All things considered, I think it’s very clear that this was a deliberate ‘dive’.

    Bowyer is not the sort of driver to just lose the rear out of a corner like that all on his own unless he was paying no attention at all. If it’s determined this was deliberate, then the most suitable punishment would be to disqualify the 39 car from the rest of the season. I don’t know if you can punish Truex for something he benefited from that he may not have had any involvement in.

    As for Newman losing his place in the chase, that’s a tricky one. You could argue that the right thing to do would be to let Newman have the place instead of Truex, but, again, is it right to punish Truex for something he might not have had any knowledge of?

    As far as the Chase system goes, I don’t mind it. Is it contrived and artificial? Sure. Does it suit NASCAR’s attitude of entertainment before racing ‘purity’? I think so. NASCAR drivers and teams seem to be quite content with the fact that they have lots of arbitrary rules and elements involved with their sport to try and spice things up for the fans (lucky dog passes, ‘invisibris’ cautions, the Chase system), and they really don’t seem to mind too much. I think if they are happy to put the NASCAR brand and the ‘show’ before the overall integrity of the actual competition on track, good for them. Who are we to judge?


    What about Jeff Gordon who lost out due to Brian Vickers and Bowyer going slowly on the last few laps which elevated Joey Logano into the top 10 of the championship knocking Jeff Gordon out of the top 10 and giving Truex his wildcard entry?

    I’ve got to hand it MWR because they manage to cheat this complicated system which was changing every lap with only a few laps to go. That must have taken some serious team management.


    Apparently there is some additional evidence that Bowyer span on purpose. Here’s an exchange between Bowyer and his team owner after the race:

    And this is what a close personal friend of Bowyer tweeted:

    Moreover, it turns out that the same team also manipulated another driver’s race to help Truex make the chase. Here’s what I read on my friend’s website:

    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.”


    What a sham. Though, how incredibly boring does that onboard look? Damn, it looks like a Sunday drive. The engine sounds like it’s cruising along the interstate.


    Drivers spinning on purpose or throwing some debris (water bottles mostly) to bring out a caution is a fairly regular thing in NASCAR (and Stockcar racing in general). That being said it’s kind of impossible to say “well so & so would’ve got in if there weren’t a caution” as there was no guarantee that Newman would mess up the restart or that Gordon wouldn’t be able to get into the position he needed to be in, etc.

    Now onto the other part of this, driving slowly (as long as above the minimum speed limit & staying out of the way) as well as parking your car in your pitbox for a few laps like Brian Vickers & Bowyer both did after this caution to help out somebody else (non-teammate Joey Logano in this case) isn’t illegal per NASCAR rules. Team Orders are also not illegal in NASCAR and are a pretty common thing, though usually it’s to allow a teammate to lead a lap to get a bonus point and not anything like this.


    @Fisha695 I think you’re right, it is completely normal for drivers to deliberately cause accidents. But doesn’t NASCAR have rather strict rules on making sure the drivers don’t damage the reputation of the sport? I seem to recall Denny Hamlin getting a fine earlier this year because he said in an interview that the new car didn’t produce exciting racing.

    So presumably they can’t punish Bowyer or MWR for causing deliberate accidents or executing team orders. But could they punish them for making a mockery out of NASCAR and making the sport itself look bad?


    The difference is the teams were told several times in a meeting to not talk bad about the new car because it’s the pet-project of the manufactures involved in the sport. In reality most drivers & teams dislike this “new car” which is little more then a new body (which does make a difference aero-wise) on the same crappy chassis they’ve been running since 2007ish when the COT first debuted.


    NASCAR has made the results from the Nationwide & Truck series races offical (happens on the Monday after the race) however the Cup race results are still unofficial which is strange because they are usually the first ones to be made offical. And I’m just getting word that in about 1hr from now (8:15pm US Eastern time) NASCAR will hold a press conference with Mike Helton (NASCAR President) & Robin Pemberton (NASCAR Vice President of Competition) to discuss Saturday nights race. So any penalties and/or overturning of results should come out then.

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