Skip to content

Penalties deliver another black eye for Michael Waltrip Racing

Sep 9, 2013, 9:30 PM EDT

Coke Zero 400 - Practice Getty Images

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Mike Conway ready to double up on Long Beach IndyCar win this Sunday in Alabama

    Apr 22, 2014, 9:19 PM EDT

    ConwayLB2 AP

    Mike Conway’s come-from-behind IndyCar win at Long Beach nearly two weeks ago may have been a surprise to some. But it wasn’t a surprise to team owner Ed Carpenter or Conway himself. They both had confidence in each other for a strong run and a high finish – and the win was just an added bonus.

  2. After Shanghai letdown, McLaren’s Boullier tells team ‘don’t panic’

    Apr 22, 2014, 8:40 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain - Previews Getty Images

    With McLaren’s podium-less 2013 in mind, the team’s racing director is doing all he can to keep the troops calm after a poor Chinese Grand Prix.

  3. ‘Rookie’ Kurt Busch, 1995 champ Jacques Villeneuve, three more to undergo Indy 500 orientation/refresher

    Apr 22, 2014, 8:21 PM EDT

    Jacques Villeneuve will be making his first return trip to Indianapolis since winning there in 1995 -- and only his third race ever there -- for this year's Indy 500. AP

    It’s been 14 years since Kurt Busch was last called a rookie. And even though Busch has a Sprint Cup championship trophy at home, he’s still a rookie open-wheel driver as far as the Indianapolis 500 is concerned.

  4. Red Bull tweaks Mercedes over attempt to increase ‘Fuelgate’ punishment

    Apr 22, 2014, 7:12 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China Getty Images

    Red Bull’s anonymous “Spy” says that their main rivals are getting “rattled and sweating a bit.”

  5. NASCAR AMERICA: Scan All 43 – Kurt Busch breaks winless streak, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon still without wins

    Apr 22, 2014, 6:46 PM EDT

    NASCAR America

    On Tuesday’s edition of NASCAR AMERICA, Leigh Diffey and Wally Dallenbach took a look back at the March 30th STP 500 at Martinsville Raceway and Kurt Busch’s win, which snapped an 83-race winless streak. We also look back at the rain-postponed Duck Commander 500 at Texas on April 7, as well as how Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, who have 10 Sprint Cup championships between them, but neither driver has visited victory lane yet in 2014.

  6. Veteran pit crew coach Lance Munksgard leaves Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR

    Apr 22, 2014, 6:11 PM EDT

    Lance Munksgard, pit crew coach for the teams of Jimmie Johnson (above) and Dale Earnhardt Jr., has left Hendrick Motorsports to work in his family's business in Texas. (Photo courtesy Hendrick Motorsports) Lance Munksgard, pit crew coach for the teams of Jimmie Johnson (above) and Dale Earnhardt Jr., has left Hendrick Motorsports to work in his family's business in Texas. (Photo courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)

    One of the most effective and successful pit crew coaches in the business has not only left Hendrick Motorsports, he’s also left NASCAR. Lance Munksgard, who had served as coach for the pit crews of both Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. since November 2011, has returned to his native Texas to work in his family’s business, according to MRN.com.

  7. IndyCar: Helio Castroneves on probation for social media policy violation

    Apr 22, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    Pocono INDYCAR 400 Getty Images

    A critical tweet from the three-time Indy 500 champion’s account – which he says came from his sister – has put him on probation through June 30.

  8. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 p.m. ET

    Apr 22, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    nascar america

    It’s another “Scan All 43″ showcase today, as Races 5-8 of this year’s Sprint Cup championship are profiled.

  9. Excited to join Ed Carpenter Racing, J.R. Hildebrand has unfinished business at Indy 500

    Apr 22, 2014, 4:23 PM EDT

    Indianapolis 500 - Practice Getty Images

    If he had his way, J.R. Hildebrand would run the Indianapolis 500 tomorrow. The 2011 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year is looking forward to returning to the fabled Brickyard for this year’s edition of the 500 on May 25 for three primary reasons.

  10. Richmond’s personal for Daniel Knost, Kurt Busch’s crew chief

    Apr 22, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    STP 500 - Practice Getty Images

    He believes that a win last fall at Richmond was taken away from him and his SHR crewmates.

  11. Former CART championship and Indy 500 winning owner Steve Horne putting the ‘Super’ in V8 Supercars

    Apr 22, 2014, 3:32 PM EDT

    (Photo courtesy V8Supercars.com.Au) (Photo courtesy V8Supercars.com.Au)

    After winning an Indianapolis 500 win (1986, with Bobby Rahal behind the wheel), two CART championships and five Indy Lights titles – Steve Horne went back to his native New Zealand two years ago. But Horne isn’t the retiring type. Nor is he part of a “Where Are They Now?” question. If anything, Horne is as busy as he’s ever been, both running his own team as well as serving as chairman of the V8 Supercars Commission in New Zealand and Australia.

  12. Alex Zanardi finishes 13th in Blancpain GT Sprint debut

    Apr 22, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Indianapolis 500 Getty Images

    Late clutch problems force the former CART champion and F1 pilot out of a likely Top-10 finish.

  13. See what it’s like to race Long Beach through a driver’s eyes (VIDEO)

    Apr 22, 2014, 2:34 PM EDT

    (Photo courtesy MikeSkeen.com/Ben Carufel) (Photo courtesy MikeSkeen.com/Ben Carufel)

    Whether it be NASCAR, IndyCar, NHRA or sports car racing, it’s become fairly routine for TV broadcasts to give in-car action during the course of a race. But it’s rare to actually see an entire race on video from the driver’s seat. That’s why we really enjoyed Mike Skeen’s video from last week’s Pirelli World Challenge GT race in Long Beach.

  14. NNS: JR Motorsports adding Super Late Model driver Austin Theriault for 3 races

    Apr 22, 2014, 2:01 PM EDT

    Drive To Stop Diabetes 300 - Practice Getty Images

    The 20-year-old has been competing for Brad Keselowski’s Super Late Model team for the past two seasons.

  15. Scratch Clint Bowyer from the ranks of NASCAR’s most eligible bachelors

    Apr 22, 2014, 1:13 PM EDT

    If Clint Bowyer is smiling more often than normal these days, it's because he's now a married man. Getty Images

    If Clint Bowyer is your heartthrob, it’s time to start looking for another as the Emporia, Kansas, native spent last weekend’s Easter break getting hitched to long time girlfriend Lorra Podsiadilo. In the Bahamas, no less.

  16. Red Bull GRC: F1/NASCAR vet Nelson Piquet Jr. to drive for SH Racing

    Apr 22, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    Credit: SH Racing Rallycross Credit: SH Racing Rallycross

    The son of the three-time F1 champion is shifting gears once again.

  17. Tony Kanaan not worried over slow start with Ganassi

    Apr 22, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Getty Images

    His first two races with Target Chip Ganassi Racing haven’t yielded strong results, but the reigning Indy 500 champ tells an Indianapolis radio show that it isn’t the first time he’s had to rally.

  18. Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson to drive NASCAR pace car at Kansas

    Apr 22, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    JordyGBKAN Getty Images

    Jordy Nelson gets call to drive pace car for NASCAR’s Kansas 400 next month.

  19. Justin Wilson looks for first Barber podium and rebound post-Long Beach

    Apr 22, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

    WilsonLB AP

    It feels like it could be a Justin Wilson weekend at Barber, armed with better testing pace and motivation to recover after getting hit multiple times in Long Beach.

  20. Daniel Suarez to make NASCAR Nationwide debut with JGR at Richmond

    Apr 22, 2014, 9:49 AM EDT

    daniel-suarez_celebration_nknsp-east_new-smyrna_021614 Getty Images

    JGR’s latest new young gun to step up from other NASCAR touring series.

Today on NASCAR AMERICA

More from NASCAR America

Why Gordon, Johnson haven't won yet
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. B. Myers (1413)
  2. T. Hessert (1395)
  3. J. Boston (1371)
  4. P. Kligerman (1333)
  5. A. Seuss (1329)
  1. J. Myers (1302)
  2. C. Whitt (1267)
  3. B. Jones (1249)
  4. L. Fleming (1220)
  5. B. Loftin (1160)

Featured video

Lewis Hamilton thanks his 'angels'