My Opinion: NASCAR Spingate and Historic Penalties
Michael Waltrip Racing has just been assessed one of the biggest penalties in NASCAR history. Their three teams, the 15, 55, and 56, have been docked 50 points each.
The organization has been fined $300,000 and team president Ty Norris has been suspended indefinitely. Also, the points penalty knocks Martin Truex, Jr. out of the Chase, being replaced by Ryan Newman.
All of this stemming from actions that transpired on the race track Saturday night at Richmond.
By now, we all know that the 15, Clint Bowyer went for a spin and Brian Vickers, 55, was called to pit so Joey Logano could gain spots thereby putting Truex, Jr. in the Chase via the wildcard.
NASCAR had to do something and they did. Was it right? Was it fair? Yes and no.
Yes it was right because no team should be allowed to “take the law into their own hands.” This is exactly what MWR attempted to do Saturday night.
Replays of the in car audio show that Vickers is confused by his crew chief asking him to pit for no apparent reason, only to be told they think he has a tire going down.
I was listening to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s radio Saturday night and after Bowyer’s spin, he said it looked funny and that he thought he spun out on his own to bring out the caution.
Earnhardt has been penalized for this very thing before, so he would know. The closest driver to Bowyer was Earnhardt and replays clearly show he had nothing to do with it.
I like Bowyer and Vickers but their actions saddened me, especially Bowyer. He basically gets off scot free because of the Chase re-seeding.
He also has to go into the garage next weekend and look the other 42 drivers in the face knowing that his spin affected the outcome of that race. We can never really know how things would have played out over the final laps but rest assured, the outcome was messed with. That’s what has me so riled up.
Was it fair? No, of course not because it didn’t address the other driver affected in this fiasco, Jeff Gordon, who was also fighting for a Chase position.
Had Vickers not pitted and Joey Logano, who was struggling most the night, not gained positions because of that, Gordon would have most likely made it in. We don’t know that for a fact, but in my mind, it’s a pretty safe bet.
The person who loses the most in this mess is Truex who now is out of the Chase and had no knowledge whatsoever of the shenanigans of his teammates. I doubt he would want to make the Chase that way.
NASCAR needed to do something more substantial to Bowyer because his spin was the impetus for everything that transpired.
I’m still upset that this happened but will it keep me from watching and going to races? Of course not because I love and obsess over NASCAR and doing so would only hurt the sport I love. I’m just glad that NASCAR stepped up and tried to right a wrong. They mostly got it right and for that I am thankful!
With that being said, let the Chase begin.