Bowyer spun out on purpose at Richmond to help teammate (3rd Update) UPDATE NASCAR has penalized the Waltrip team severely - see related article. Truex is out of the Chase and Ryan Newman in.
09/08/13 UPDATE #2 NASCAR has announced that it is reviewing the finish to Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Int’l Raceway.
There were several controversial moments near the end of Saturday’s 400-lap event, but the moment NASCAR is believed to be reviewing is the spin by Clint Bowyer with eight laps left that forced NASCAR to wave a caution flag. The resulting caution period and restart allowed Bowyer’s teammate Martin Truex Jr. to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
NASCAR is reportedly reviewing evidence that Bowyer deliberately spun his No. 15 Toyota in order to help Truex make the Chase. Had it not been for the caution period and subsequent restart, it is likely that Ryan Newman would have won the race and made the Chase instead of Truex.
It is also believed that Truex’s fellow MWR teammate Brian Vickers purposely slowed during the final three laps to allow Joey Logano to pass him. That allowed Logano to remain in the top 10 in the standings so he didn’t have to use a Wild Card to get into the Chase, which also helped Truex.
The entire NASCAR statement follows: “NASCAR is reviewing Saturday night’s race at Richmond International Raceway per protocol and has no plans for further statement until that process is complete.”
It is not believed that NASCAR is reviewing the controversial final restart, which saw eventual winner Carl Edwards beat leader Paul Menard to the start/finish line.09/08/13 As questions swirled around #15-Clint Bowyer's late-race spin at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night - an incident that altered the Chase for the Sprint Cup field with a caution - NASCAR said it did not believe Bowyer did anything intentional. "Not at all," Sprint Cup Series director John Darby told USA TODAY Sports.
"Although we watch it - we make a point of mentioning it in the drivers' meeting and everything - I don't think anybody realistically believes that was the case with the 15 car." Bowyer's spin with seven laps remaining fell under scrutiny because it happened by himself - though #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was in the proximity - and ultimately helped Michael Waltrip Racing teammate #56-Martin Truex Jr. make the Chase. "He just spun right out," Earnhardt said afterward. "That's the craziest thing I ever saw. He was hemming around on the brakes and jerking the car around, and then the thing just spun out. It was crazy. I don't know what was going on."
"I think we had something going wrong," Bowyer said after the race. "I had so much wheel, by the time I got to the gas, he was underneath me. I spun out. 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."(see full story at the USA Today)
09/08/13 Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon had put themselves in position to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup with 10 laps to go in the regular-season finale Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway.
And then Clint Bowyer spun with seven laps remaining. Newman and Gordon couldn’t hang onto their spots over the final 10 laps and wound up missing the championship Chase. The big question: Did Bowyer spin on purpose to help Martin Truex Jr., his Michael Waltrip Racing teammate, get into the Chase? Bowyer scoffed at the accusation.
“My car was tight as hell,” Bowyer said. “(Jimmie Johnson) blew a tire and hit the wall. I'm telling you, I was the next one. That thing slid, what, maybe less than 10 feet and blew out, you know what I mean?
“Something was going on there. I've been doing this a long time. It is what it is. It's unfortunate. I know it's a lot of fun for you guys to write a lot of whacky things. Go ahead if you want to, get creative. But don't look too much into it.”
Neither Gordon, who finished eighth, or Newman, who finished third, would speculate on whether Bowyer spun on purpose.
Newman was leading the race at the time of the spin, but he came down pit road under caution, took four tires and came out sixth.
With Paul Menard taking two tires, Newman said he should have come out second ahead of eventual race-winner Carl Edwards. If Newman had won the race, he would have earned one of the two wild-card spots.
Instead, he finished third and tied with Truex for the final wild-card spot. Truex earned the tiebreaker by having one second-place finish to none for Newman.
“They are teammates,” Newman said. “I don't know if he looked at the scoring pylon, knew I was leading. It doesn't matter.
“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.”