News & Media

Helton: 'Nothing conclusive' regarding Menard

September 17, 2011, Joe Menzer,

JOLIET, Ill. -- Driver more than ready to move on from accusations following Richmond race

Mike Helton told the Associated Press Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway that NASCAR has been able to find "nothing conclusive" in its investigation into the circumstances surrounding a late caution caused by driver Paul Menard's single-car spin last Saturday night at Richmond.

Driver Jeff Gordon, who had been leading the race at the time, said something seemed "a little fishy" about Menard's team radio communications just before the spin, making him wonder if perhaps Menard did it on purpose to deliberately bring out the caution in an effort to let his Richard Childress Racing teammate, Kevin Harvick, win the race. Harvick did end up beating Gordon off pit road during the subsequent caution and went on to win the race. Gordon finished third.

Helton, NASCAR's president, said Friday that the governing body would be looking into the incident, but that more information needed to be gathered. His comment to AP on Saturday left Menard believing the matter is now closed.

Menard, Childress and crew chief Slugger Labbe had all vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

"If they had something, I would have loved to have seen it," Menard said. "I talked to David Hoots [managing event director of NASCAR] before [Sprint Cup qualifying Saturday], but we didn't even talk about that. We just talked about racing. So if they said that, I'm just glad it's behind us and we're moving forward."

Later NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp added: "So far everything that we've been able to look at and listen to regarding the situation leads us to believe that there was nothing inappropriate done on the part of the No. 27 car [driven by Menard] in the Richmond race last Saturday."