Gordon not fully satisfied with ruling
September 10, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
Penalties to Michael Waltrip Racing still leave Gordon out of Chase
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Jeff Gordon, one of a handful of drivers impacted by Saturday night’s bizarre ending to the Federated Auto Parts 400, doesn’t appear to be entirely satisfied with NASCAR’s ruling and explanation of penalties announced by the sanctioning body Monday evening.
Gordon’s team didn’t run afoul of the law, but his team was one affected by what took place in the final laps of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event.
There is no recourse for the four-time Cup Series champion and winner of 87 races. His No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team will not be among the 12 contending for this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup when the series heads to Chicagoland Speedway this weekend.
A day after the Richmond race, Gordon took to his Twitter account (@JeffGordonWeb), again stating his own disappointment while adding that in light of the questionable actions that had since surfaced, he felt worse for fellow driver Ryan Newman, who also had fallen short of qualifying for the Chase.
Following NASCAR’s announcement that it had penalized Michael Waltrip Racing and its three Sprint Cup teams for attempting “to manipulate the outcome of the race,” Gordon took to Twitter once more, stating “Feel bad for Truex. He got in under controversy now out due to it. But the guy who started all of this not effected at all??? Don't agree!”
Gordon appeared to be referring to MWR drivers Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer, two of the three drivers docked 50 points each. It was Bowyer’s spin with seven laps remaining that changed the outlook of the race and the lineup for the Chase. Truex Jr., initially benefiting from the late caution, fell out of the field with the points penalty. Newman is now the 12th driver to qualify.
The loss of points did not alter Bowyer’s position heading into the Chase. He is seeded eighth in the 12-team field, and his point total remains 2,000.
Having battled back from a mid-race loose wheel that left him two laps down at Richmond International Raceway, Gordon appeared en route to clinching a spot in the Chase with a finish that would have placed him 10th in points.
But Bowyer’s spin, coupled with questionable pit road moves on the part of teammate Brian Vickers, altered the outcome and led to the NASCAR sanctions, which also included 50-point owner points penalties, a $300,000 fine for the organization and probation for MWR’s three Cup crew chiefs.
Gordon will enter this weekend’s Geico 400 13th in points with no opportunity to advance.
“Take me out of this completely,” Gordon tweeted of the post-Saturday night shenanigans. “At this point all that matters to me is if @NASCAR decides to fix this then fix it completely!”
It’s clear Gordon was aware of NASCAR’s explanation of how officials arrived at the penalties, but in closing he seemed to indicate he wasn’t buying the end result.
“Phone bat going to die. Prob a good thing b4 I say something that gets me in trouble. Lastly, someone explain the ‘ripple effect’ to me?” he tweeted, a reference to NASCAR President Mike Helton’s explanation of why Gordon was not affected by the penalty decision.
“The way we go about these is we look at the incident and only the incident because we know from experience that if you try to look at the ripple effect of an incident, you can't cover all those bases,” Helton said. “You can't ever come up with a conclusion that is equitable and credible across the board.
“So we simply look at the incident and react to the incident, and whatever our reaction may create, that has a ripple effect to it, as well.
“But our focus is around the incident and what we were going to do to react around it, not the ripple effect of the incident or the ripple effect of our reaction.“
Gordon will participate in Wednesday’s inaugural Charlotte Kick-It kickball tournament, slated for CMC-NorthEast Stadium, home of minor league baseball team the Kannapolis Intimidators. The event is a fundraising opportunity for the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation.
Gordon is expected to meet with members of the media prior to the start of the program.