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Penalties deliver another black eye for Michael Waltrip Racing

Sep 9, 2013, 9:30 PM EDT

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As the racing world continues to buzz about NASCAR’s massive penalties against Michael Waltrip Racing following the late-race events of last Saturday night, one can’t help but realize that this is the second time in seven seasons that the sanctioning body has lowered the boom on the MWR franchise.

Tonight’s penalties had an impact on the Chase for the Sprint Cup, with MWR pilot Martin Truex, Jr. getting knocked out of the Chase thanks to a 50-point penalty and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Ryan Newman subsequently elevated to the second Wild Card position.

But in 2007, MWR ran afoul of NASCAR on an equally big stage: The Daytona 500. Some of you may know it as the “jet fuel” saga.

Three days following the first round of qualifying for that year’s “Great American Race,” NASCAR ejected Waltrip’s crew chief, David Hyder, and MWR competition director Bobby Kennedy. That occurred after the intake manifold from Waltrip’s car had been confiscated when NASCAR officials found an illegal fuel additive inside of it during post-qualifying inspection.

After impounding the car, NASCAR gave its judgment and it was not a good one for MWR. Hyder and Kennedy were suspended indefinitely, with Hyder suffering an additional fine of $100,000. Just as big, Waltrip lost 100 driver points and his team lost 100 owner’s points.

Waltrip would ultimately qualify for that year’s Daytona 500 in a backup car, but not before his team had brought considerable embarrassment to themselves, to NASCAR, and to its car manufacturer, Toyota, which was making its then-Nextel Cup debut at that particular event.

“I don’t think we’ll ever put this behind us, but we’ll try to do better in the future,” a somber Waltrip said at the time according to The Associated Press.

Unfortunately for Waltrip, his team’s reputation appears certain to take a major hit again after NASCAR found MWR to have, in the words of vice president of competition Robin Pemberton, “attempted to manipulate the outcome” of Saturday’s Chase-deciding event at Richmond International Raceway.

“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,” Pemberton said in a NASCAR statement issued tonight.

Chimed in NASCAR president Mike Helton: “Our conversations about it were deep and we feel like we researched it very well. We talked at great length with the folks at Michael Waltrip Racing to try and get to the right spot and make the correct decision, and that’s what we feel like we have done.”

One day ago, we were pondering what NASCAR could do against such a controversy like the one that played out in Richmond. But with their swift and decisive reaction, NASCAR has made MWR an example for a second time in delivering a message to the rest of the garage: Maintain the integrity of the sport or suffer the consequences.

Rest assured, that message is ringing loud and clear this evening. And once more, MWR is paying a hefty price.

  1. mdshumaker - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    PLEASE….Bowyer received essentially no penalty. All MWR drivers should not disqualified from the chase. NASCAR is ridiculous. The chase should include Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman, the 2 drivers screwed over by this ridiculous stunt.

    • rupchurch444589 - Sep 10, 2013 at 12:04 AM

      The only screw ups are Newmans and Gordons pit crews who didnt get the job done on pit row after the Boyer spin. If You think some hocus pocus happened on pit row that made Newman and Gorden miss the chase then you need to go back and here thier comments on thier poor pit stops. Thats why they were not in the chase. And thats why they shouldnt be!

      • blmn61140 - Sep 10, 2013 at 12:55 AM

        Sorry but the pit crew screw-ups happened because of extremely unethical tactics from MWR.You had 2 MWR teams sandbagging and 2 teams paid the price,The penalty to Boywer was another sad joke on the part of NASCAR officiating.You can say that there would have probably been another caution and you would probably be right.But you can’t let your decision be based on what you “think”would have happened.Vickers and Boywer dropped back just enough that Logano was allowed to qualify with his dazzling and inspirational charge to 22nd place .Brian France,IMO,is the reincarnation of P.T. Barnum!!!

  2. truex56jr - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    Im sorry to say your all wrong. Truex did nothing wrong but drive his heart out to be in the chase. This guy never has whined, lied or cheated to make himself better. I have always been Truex from day 1. Whoever has been in that #1 car,I was a fan of till McMurray. If anything bowyer shoulda been kicked out an Newman in. Truex did not tell hom to spin to advance him. He cant even speak to bowyer. That was either Ty or Micheal that made that call. I am not happy with there decsion nor was it right to hit Truex with the penalty. It was all on bowyer an management.

    • rupchurch444589 - Sep 9, 2013 at 11:56 PM

      I agree!

  3. rupchurch444589 - Sep 9, 2013 at 11:54 PM

    A lot of circumstances had to fall in place on pit row for Truex to come out on top. Both Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordons pit crews did not get them the positions they needed to make the chase, no matter what Clint Boyer may have done. Newman and Gordon ended up in the positions thier pit crews put them in. I dont see how spinning out would then make it possible for Newmans and Gordons pit crews to screw upand they did. Micheal Waltrip is not a magic act! Nascar penalties are always over the top. I hope there is a appeal to over turn Truex from driving in the chase. HE DID NOTHING WRONG! TRUEX DROVE THE WHEELS OFF HIS CAR ALL NIGHT AND DESERVES TO BE IN THE CHASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :O :-$ :-X B-) O:-)

    • calbrown6 - Sep 10, 2013 at 6:20 PM

      Hey rupchurch444589—- Before anybody else says it I will–“SHUT THE F**K UP”!!!

  4. grgstrickland - Sep 10, 2013 at 12:17 AM

    mwr should be banned from the chase,cheaters always just like their car manufacturer,never trust a frekin jap.

  5. grgstrickland - Sep 10, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    verybody else knew what clit bowyer did why cant nascar see it,toyota will do anything to steal a championship,and I mean anything,bunch of low lifes.

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