DALLAS (105.3 THE FAN) – What Clint Bowyer thought was a harmless little “itch” is actually a lot more than that. NASCAR has come down hard on Michael Waltrip Racing for their late race actions in Saturday’s last race of the chase.
In case you’ve been under a NASCAR rock, the penalties levied on MWR leave Martin Truex Jr out of the playoffs, Ryan Newman in and MWR also fined a NASCAR record $300,000 big ones. These penalties are harsh, but not harsh enough.
Let’s break this down.
Team owner Michael Waltrip was fined, Martin Truex Jr. booted from the playoffs, Brian Vickers fined 50 points, and Clint Bowyer aka the man who spun to alter the chase…slapped on the wrist?
I know he was fined 50 points, but come on that’s a cop-out penalty. Those 50 points are being deducted before the chase begins. The man who did the most damage in this debacle, by spinning himself out, is still virtually unaffected heading into chase race one?
I think NASCAR dropped the ball on that one.
Don’t forget in all this madness, Jeff Gordon missed the chase by one point.
How you can penalize Truex Jr, who technically did nothing wrong in this mess, but not his teammate Clint Bowyer?
Here is my solution for the itchy driver. Leave him in the chase, but deduct those 50 points now. Make it impossible for him to win the title. Serve notice that this is not ok.
The governing body completed 90% of that mission with these current penalties, but I think affecting Bowyer like this would have made that message felt loud and clear at 100%.
The real winner in this madness is the fans. The NASCAR nation was in uproar over what they saw at the end of the race Saturday. They tweeted, posted on forums and made their voices heard. They weren’t happy and I think NASCAR took notice. The power of the people came through. Bravo!
- Joey Logano and his #22 team = LUCKY. The 22 year old is the only “Chase” virgin of the 12 who made it, but boy was he lucky. How did this team run so poorly on arguably the season’s biggest stage? Logano finished 3rd at Richmond in the Spring, his teammate Brad Keselowski was a beast up front all night, and he didn’t need THAT impressive of a finish to make the chase…yet that team still made it by a hair. Unexplainable how they made life so difficult.
- Kurt Busch and the #78 team = CLUTCH. “The outlaw” needed to come through with a big run and that’s exactly what he did. The Furniture Row Bunch had a rough pit stop at first that left Busch fuming, but they cleaned up their act and so did Kurt. Busch was up front all night which once again is a statement that this team is a title contender. Major props to the first single car team to ever make the chase. Wow.
- Jeff Gordon = CLASSY. The four time champ came up one point short of making the Chase. ONE. However, was Gordon sitting in his hauler pouting or throwing a fit? No. Gordon stood in front of reporters, talked about what happened, and thanked his fans for their support. Look at it this way, Gordon won’t be racing that much longer folks, and for him to wave goodbye at a chance for that fifth title with such dignity and class is impressive.
- Clint Bowyer and MWR = SAD. As I talked about above, they altered the chase. If you think his late race spin wasn’t on purpose, you’re a diehard Clint Bowyer fan and lying to yourself. All the radio communication, the supposed ordering of pit stops coming to green, the post race body language, it just reeks of foul play. Bowyer has been making the media rounds today saying he doesn’t want to talk about the incident. I like Clint Boywer, he is a down to earth dude in the two times I’ve talked with him, but come on.
- Boy was I off on my predictions for that race or what? I had Biffle out, and Jeff Gordon in. I Nailed Kurt Busch making it, but yeah my shocker was Biffle out. Oops. Hats off to “the Biff” he put in a run I didn’t expect. Gordon’s team was too inconsistent all season, so maybe missing the chase was deserved in a way.
Chase Race: 1 of 10.
Next Race: Chicago
Green-white checkered: Matt Kenseth leads the standings over Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch heading into Chase Race 1 by a slim three points. Let the games begin.
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