NASCAR decided to review the race at Richmond and has now handed down the punishment.
On Monday, NASCAR announced that it has laid down some penalties towards Michael Waltrip Racing following the team’s actions towards the finish at Richmond. Having been found in violations to section 12-4 of the NASCAR rule for actions detrimental to stock car racing, all three of MWR’s teams, the No.15, 55 and 56, were penalized 50 championship driver and 50 championship points.
The point deductions were made to the points prior to the chase reset.
Along with the point deductions, MWR was fined $300,000, while team executive vice president and GM Ty Norris was suspended indefinitely. All three of MWR’s crew chiefs — Brian Pattie, Scott Miller and Chad Johnston — have been placed on probation until December 31.
All of the penalties towards MWR come as NASCAR tries to take back control of a finish where championship contention spots were on the line. MWR was found to have manipulated the finish throughout various scenarios that were revealed not only with Clint Bowyer’s spin that brought out the final caution, but some radio communication throughout the 55 team.
The finish at Richmond was not only going to hurt NASCAR’s credibility if it didn’t handle the situation, but it was also going to hurt MWR’s for their own actions.
Just as all actions have consequences, it came back to hurt the one driver within MWR who got the help by making the chase, but didn’t have a role in what occurred: Martin Truex Jr. All night long on Saturday, Truex had been trying to race his way into the chase but after NASCAR laid down the penalty, he ended up paying for it more than his teammates.
With the point deductions being made towards the points prior to the reset, Newman is now in the chase and Truex is out. But Bowyer, who had a role in MWR’s actions on Saturday, came out of the penalties without it really hurting his chase chances. It just looks like if nothing really happened at all towards the No.15 team or Bowyer.
It was a good thing that NASCAR took action because if they didn’t try to handle the situation, it would look bad on their part. If they wanted to make deductions, what they did to Truex was understandable; but if they really wanted to “teach a lesson”, they should have made Bowyer’s deductions count towards the chase reset point standings.
Since they didn’t do that, it’s as if there really isn’t a punishment at all. The victims out of the entire situation were Newman, Gordon and Joey Logano — even though he benefited in a way. MWR even left a victim within their own team in Truex. He may have been the beneficiary on Saturday, but he was the one who ended up paying the biggest consequence within the entire organization.