Bowyer accused of ‘Crashgate’-style race fixing

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    NASCAR should definitely act on it. It was way worse than the phantom debris we’re used to see. I don’t approve them either, but it’s kind of NASCAR’s call to make arbitrary decisions. Now, it’s about competitor’s cheating. Fortunately, NASCAR used to go down heavily on this, they issued two quite heavy penalties on two occasions this year – once on Penske teammates Brad Keselowski (my favourite driver) and Joey Logano for 25pts each and once on Matt Kenseth for some 12pts or so. Among other minor sanctions. Most of these were for technical infringements, easily checkable, but still – in the former case especially – NASCAR’s judgement was highly on principle-driven; by the letter of the rulebook, the Penske guys were not in the wrong.

    So I expect something similar, even if NASCAR will be unable to prove the MWR intentions.

    As for the show elements and entertainment-over-competition side, I think it should be learnt from not disregarded. Say, the points system – allocating points for the last driver creates a whole new level of competition after someone went behind the wall: the pit crew starts working quickly to send the driver back on track for more points. Free pass – creates competition between those on one lap down. Chase – gives intense importance for wins, but retains the standard champ-on-points approach as well for the best of both worlds. A lot of safety car periods – brings unexpected elements into the game for race strategy, similar to the end of this year’s Britich GP, which was one of the best race-endings to watch in 2013. Etc. So I think F1 has a lot to learn from NASCAR, we should not be as ignorant towards them as we are. Lewis seemed to be very open-minded during the driver swap with Tony Stewart at The Glen, and I liked his approach. Conversely, professionalism is much higher in F1, see teams in NASCAR who just start and park for money. In F1, even the Marussia delivers 100% week in, week out.


    Breaking news via Twitter a moment ago:

    So evidently NASCAR do believe that Bowyer’s/MWR’s actions were intentional. They’ve called a press conference later this evening, presumably they’ll explain their reasoning behind it.


    Thank you Jacky.

    Soint points:
    Kudos on Nascar to act so quickly and give solution to this mess
    Truex people aren´t very smart, at least in F1 Cashgate they were at least trying to cover it up instead of sending tweets congratulated the driver for crashing


    NASCAR Penalizes Michael Waltrip Racing
    Following Event At Richmond International Raceway

    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 9, 2013) – NASCAR has issued penalties to Michael Waltrip Racing following the sanctioning body’s review of Saturday’s race at Richmond International Raceway.

    MWR was found to have violated Section 12-4 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing). As a result, MWR’s three teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (No. 15, 55, 56) have been penalized with the loss of 50 championship driver and 50 championship owner points, respectively.

    These point penalties are assessed following the season’s 26th regular season race and not after the seeding for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Therefore, the point total for the No. 56 car driven by Martin Truex Jr. is reduced to 691, putting him in 17th position and eliminating him from the second Wild Card berth for the Chase field. Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 car, now moves up into the Chase as the second Wild Card participant.

    NASCAR has also fined the MWR organization $300,000 and indefinitely suspended Ty Norris, MWR Executive Vice President/General Manager and spotter for the No. 55 car, for violating Section 12-4. The three crew chiefs – Brian Pattie (No. 15), Scott Miller (No. 55) and Chad Johnston (No. 56) – have all been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.

    “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,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “As the sport’s sanctioning body, it is our responsibility to ensure there is a fair and level playing field for all of our competitors and this action today reflects our commitment to that.”

    Bowyer basically does not get any penalty as the penalties are applied pre-seeding for the Chase so Bowyer is still allowed to compete for the Championship.

    The monetary fine of $300,000 isn’t all that big considering combined the 3 teams were awarded $337,663 in purse money for this race.

    Also the penalty is not for the Spin that caused the caution as NASCAR said there is not enough evidence to determine if that was done on purpose. The penalty is instead for the #15 & #55 cars taking unnecessarily long pitstops which insured that another car (the #22 of Joey Logano which is from the Penske team) would finish ahead of the #15 & #55 cars and thus get into the Chase based on points and not the Wildcard which would allow the #56 (the 3rd MWR car) to get in on the Wildcard instead of Newman.

    So yes apparently now you can get penalized for having pitstops that are “too long”.

    EDIT: Now based on what was just said in the press conference it’s not so much the fact that they did what they did that got the team in trouble, it’s the fact that it was said over the #55 radio that they needed to pit to help somebody else in points. If they had used code-wording they would not have gotten in trouble.


    Hmmmmm. What very odd reasoning.


    At least they managed to strip them of their ill-gotten advantage – which is better than F1 managed five years ago – but as others have said the reasoning behind it isn’t very satisfactory.


    Although NASCAR did better than F1 in moving faster to punish the cheating team, NASCAR didn’t punish all the right people, either. Certainly not Bowyer (who is the Piquet in the case).


    Keith, I think you’re going off-tangent here. The punishment meted out is for something else…not the Bowyer incident at all.


    More accusations of Chase-related jiggery-pokery:

    Penske Racing may have cut a deal with Front Row Motorsports in the closing laps at Richmond for track position to help get Joey Logano in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, according to a review of radio communications by The Associated Press.

    All the serves as a very good advertisements for why F1 shouldn’t have a Chase system and shouldn’t have teams with more than two drivers.

    Oli Peacock

    Having started watching NASCAR for the first time this year, I thoroughly disappointed to find that there are cheats in the sport. Up until this point, I really found NASCAR as hard and fast racing, the fastest guy over x no. of miles wins, that’s it. Unlike F1 where you have people from all quarters saying ‘it’s the car’ or ‘DRS is boring’ etc It’s a shame that news like this reaches a more European based audience instead of underdog stores such as David Ragan, who drives for FRM, who won at Talledega this year, the F1 equivalent being Williams wining race.


    I think this is also proof that awarding points to all drivers is a bad thing, too. This is all so massively confusing. Perhaps someone who had kept a closer eye than me on the standings before the race can confirm whether the additional point Logano earned made a difference?

    Going back to team Waltrip, I’ve seen reports today that, much like Renault in Crashgate, they look at risk of losing some major sponsors. NAPA (longtime sponsor of Waltrip and his team, currently sponsoring Truex) and 5-Hour Energy (Bowyer) are both reviewing their relationship with the team. As seems to be the trend these days, they’ve used social media to announce this.

    Here’s from NAPA’s Facebook page:

    Dear Facebook Fans and the NAPA community,

    The actions taken by Michael Waltrip’s Racing team this past weekend leading to the penalties assessed by NASCAR, are very concerning. We are disappointed that a partner associated with our organization would make such a significant error in judgment. In addition, we have launched our own review to determine the future of our partnership with Michael Waltrip’s Racing team. The NAPA AUTO PARTS organization is proud of its long-standing NASCAR relationship. We share a passion with our customers for high quality racing and seek to determine the best course of action for our customers, NASCAR fans, and the NAPA organization.

    And from 5-Hour Energy’s Twitter:

    This could be disastrous for the team, more so than it was for Renault. NASCAR teams are generally much more dependent on sponsorship than F1 teams.


    The fact that they announced it over social media is proof enough that they’re not genuinely thinking about pulling their sponsorship but instead are just trying to appease the “sheeple” consumers. If they were legit about reevaluating their partnership with the team it would’ve been handled completely in-house and deals made before it was ever commented on in public.

    Also it turns out MWR was not the only team involved as NASCAR is now looking into something between the #22 (Logano) and #38 (Gilliland) where there is radio chatter of the #38 car (who while a Ford team they are not teammate with Penske) being told to let the #22 car pass so the #22 car can have an extra point to help them get in the chase.

    Here is a snippet of an article from the AP that includes transcriptions of the radio communication of the #38 team.

    Tiny Front Row Motorsports asked for a deal from Penske Racing in the closing laps of last weekend’s race at Richmond and then helped make sure Penske’s Joey Logano made the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship by having one of its drivers back off, according to an Associated Press review of radio communications.

    David Gilliland’s spotter tells his crew that Logano’s team wanted Gilliland’s spot on the track “and they said they’d probably be able to help us in the future,” according to the review of Front Row’s radio communications.

    “You tell that spotter up there it better pay big,” replies someone believed to be Gilliland crew chief Frank Kerr.

    “Yeah, it’s not the spotter, it’s the whole committee,” the spotter says.

    “The committee knows what I’ve been asking for,” Kerr says.

    “We’ve got the big dog and all of his cronies,” the spotter replies, a possible reference to Roger Penske, who watches NASCAR races from the spotter stand.

    Kerr then says: “Travis knows what I’ve been asking for,” an apparent reference to Penske Racing competition director Travis Geisler.

    A short time later, Logano passed Gilliland on a restart and finished 22nd — one spot ahead of Gilliland and good enough for a berth in the Chase field.

    “Good job, good job, man,” the spotter says. “Hopefully we’ll get something out of that.”

    statistics analyzed by AP also show that after Logano passed him, Gilliland’s lap times dropped off by almost 1 second from the times he was running prior to the radio exchange.

    NASCAR said it was aware of the communications “and is looking into it”


    NASCAR have basically decided sorting all this out is too completely so they’ve added a 13th car to the Chase which will allow Jeff Gordon in:

    Following a comprehensive review of all available audio and video communications from last Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway, along with interviews with team personnel, NASCAR announced Friday the following decision:

    Both the Front Row Motorsports and Penske Racing organizations have been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31 for violating Section 12-1 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing).

    A 13th car – the No. 24 – would be added to this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

    “Based on all of our findings this week, we determined both Front Row Motorsports and Penske Racing organizations would be placed on probation for the remainder of this season,” said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Additionally, based upon the totality of our findings, to be fair and equitable we decided that adding a 13th car to this year’s Chase is the appropriate action.

    “Beginning with our decision Monday, which resulted in an unprecedented team penalty, and continuing with further examination of actions involving two other race teams, it is clear to us that attempts to manipulate the results impacted the Chase field.

    “The integrity of our sport remains the cornerstone of NASCAR, and our actions this week speak to our commitment to ensure a level playing field for all competitors.”

    Additionally, NASCAR will conduct a mandatory meeting with drivers, owners, crew chiefs and other team personnel tomorrow to address this issue moving forward.


    @david-a That’s great!

    By the way Tweets auto-embed, just post a link to them:

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