Michael Waltrip Racing and Martin Truex Jr. have been penalized after NASCAR reviewed the evidence against actions of fellow MWR driver Clint Bowyer Saturday night in Richmond.
NASCAR fined the organization $300,000, suspended Ty Norris, the teams Executive Vice President and spotter for Brian Vickers and placed all three team crew chiefs on probation.
In addition, 50 points from each team were deducted after the Richmond result, which moves Truex out of the Chase, and Newman back in as the second wildcard contender.
“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 Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition.
“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.”
The evidence seemed very simple to straightforward from the get go. Television coverage showed in-car footage of the Bowyer spin with 7 to go, paired up with the radio chatter.
“Is your arm starting to hurt?” Brian Pattie, Bowyer’s crew chief asked. “I bet it’s getting hot in there. Itch it.”
Seconds later, Bowyer spun out.
What wasn’t immediately evident was the actions of the 55 team and Brian Vickers. As the field was under caution and heading to the final restart, his team surprised him by calling him in to pit.
In that conversation, MWR VP Norris said “we need that one point.”
Waltrip stated on his Twitter account Monday evening that it was never the teams plan to manipulate the results.
“This wasn't a master plan or about a spin. It's about a split-second decision made by Ty to try to help a teammate. I stand by my people,” he said.
Not a single team member utilized social media after the event, until now, which can only help show the teams guilt in the situation.