Ryan Newman, after thinking he missed the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase field, will now have a chance to run for a championship after NASCAR came down hard on Michael Waltrip Racing Monday night, pulling Martin Truex Jr. out of the championship field.
NASCAR announced penalties to MWR following the sanctioning body’s review of Saturday’s race at Richmond International Raceway. Newman was leading the race before Clint Bowyer, a driver for MWR, appeared to intentionally spin and cause a caution. Newman finished the race in third and Truex took the second wild card berth in the Chase field. NASCAR, however, altered the field on Monday.
Newman, who is leaving Stewart-Haas Racing at the end of the year for Richard Childress Racing, said in a press conference Monday that the loss of the spot in the Chase was the hardest thing he had endured in 30 years of racing. He will now have that opportunity returned to him.
“MWR was found to have violated Section 12-4 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing). As a result, MWR’s three teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (No. 15, 55, 56) have been penalized with the loss of 50 championship driver and 50 championship owner points, respectively,” the statement from NASCAR said.
“These point penalties are assessed following the season’s 26th regular season race and not after the seeding for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Therefore, the point total for the No. 56 car driven by Martin Truex Jr. is reduced to 691, putting him in 17th position and eliminating him from the second Wild Card berth for the Chase field. Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 car, now moves up into the Chase as the second Wild Card participant.”
“Obviously, we’re very pleased with NASCAR’s decision to provide Ryan Newman’s rightful place in this year’s Chase,” Tony Stewart, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing said in a team press release Monday after the decision was announced. “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.”
“I am proud that NASCAR took a stand with respect to what went on Saturday night at Richmond,’ Newman said in a prepared release after the decision was announced. “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.”
NASCAR also fined the MWR organization $300,000 and indefinitely suspended Ty Norris, MWR Executive Vice President/General Manager and spotter for the No. 55 car, for violating Section 12-4. The three crew chiefs – Brian Pattie (No. 15), Scott Miller (No. 55) and Chad Johnston (No. 56) – have all been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.
“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.”