CHARLOTTE – Two days ago, Ryan Newman saw his chance to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup slip away with a sixth-place finish at Richmond.
What made it more heartbreaking was that Newman had the lead in the race-a victory that would have put him in the chase-before Clint Bowyer mysteriously spun with eight laps to go.
On Monday, however, NASCAR gave Newman a second chance as they put the South Bend native into the chase and removed Martin Treux Jr., who is teammates with Bowyer and made the chase because of his spin.
Truex, like the rest of his teammates, got docked 50 points for what was perceived to have been an intentional spin by Bowyer to help the team. With the deduction, Truex fell to 17th and Newman assumed the second wild card spot in the chase.
“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 NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton in a statement on NASCAR.com, who officially label the punishment as “Actions detrimental to stock car racing”. “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.”
In addition to the points, Michael Waltrip Racing was fined 300,000 dollars and had general manager Ty Norris suspended indefinitely. The crew chiefs for all three cars from the team were also place on probation till December 31st.
Newman have the 12th position in the chase and is the only driver to qualify from Stewart Haas Racing. This will be the final chase for Newman with the organization, who decided not to retain him after the 2013 season. This weekend Newman was officially signed to drive the No. 31 car for Richard Childress Racing, replacing Jeff Burton.
“I am proud that NASCAR took a stand with respect to what went on Saturday night at Richmond.,” said Ryan Newman in a statement through Stewart Haas Racing. “I know it was a tough decision to make. With that being said, myself, Matt Borland (crew chief) and this entire No. 39 team are looking forward to competing for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
Team owner Tony Stewart, who was taken out of Sprint cup contention after breaking his leg in an accident, appreciated NASCAR’s action on the Richmond situation.
“Obviously, we’re very pleased with NASCAR’s decision to provide Ryan Newman’s rightful place in this year’s Chase. NASCAR was put in a very difficult position Saturday night at Richmond and we commend the sanctioning body for taking the time to do the necessary due diligence to ensure that the right call was made.”