Sep 9, 2013, 9:30 PM EDT
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.
McLaren seeks big improvements in Barcelona after challenging tests, progression in first four races
May 6, 2015, 4:45 PM EDT
McLaren looks for more in Barcelona.
May 6, 2015, 3:47 PM EDT
Monaco gets a tune-up weekend with FIA Formula E this weekend, and most of the field has past track experience.
May 6, 2015, 3:31 PM EDT
The NHRA said Wednesday that the Kansas Nationals will go on as scheduled, May 22-24, despite the Topeka City Council voting Tuesday against the purchase of Heartland Park Topeka.
May 6, 2015, 2:05 PM EDT
Update to various engines for manufacturer points.
May 6, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT
Same brew. New livery.
May 6, 2015, 12:37 PM EDT
Stefano Coletti returns to a track he won at nearly a decade ago, a rare track he knows in his rookie IndyCar season.
May 6, 2015, 10:56 AM EDT
Carlos Huertas set for return at Dale Coyne Racing for this weekend’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
May 6, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT
After a decent start on pace, Simon Pagenaud looks for results to match to kick off the month of May.
May 6, 2015, 9:25 AM EDT
McLaren’s new darker graphite grey livery is unveiled.
May 6, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
MotorSportsTalk’s Tony DiZinno speaks to Indianapolis Motor Speedway president J. Douglas Boles for an overview on the present plans and the future outlook as IMS rolls into the 2015 Month of May and ahead into 2016.
May 6, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT
Fast facts heading into this weekend’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, courtesy of IndyCar PR staff.
May 5, 2015, 9:31 PM EDT
If it has four wheels, Bryan Clauson has likely raced it in his career.
May 5, 2015, 7:49 PM EDT
Without a full-time ride for this season, Justin Wilson is happy to be back in a race car and to have a ride for at least the next two races.
May 5, 2015, 6:02 PM EDT
Helio Castroneves hopes to enjoy the appetizer this weekend and then sink his teeth into the main course two weeks later.
May 5, 2015, 3:19 PM EDT
AJ Foyt’s No. 48 Honda-powered Dallara will have history written all over it in this year’s Indianapolis 500.
May 5, 2015, 2:03 PM EDT
At a time when many people would be embracing retirement, legendary NHRA drag racer John Force just keeps motoring along.
May 4, 2015, 5:18 PM EDT
Road America invests millions into some track upgrades for 2015.
May 4, 2015, 2:18 PM EDT
Nastia Liukin named grand marshal for this year’s Indianapolis 500.
May 4, 2015, 1:33 PM EDT
Videos from the debut of the new Ligier JS P2 Hondas for Tequila Patron ESM at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend.
May 4, 2015, 11:41 AM EDT
Mann gets back to work behind the wheel and has a very good first day of running at IMS.
- NHRA to go ahead with Topeka race May 22-24, despite City Council vote against racetrack purchase 1
- New McLaren Honda livery revealed 1
- Q&A: IMS President Doug Boles heading into 2015 Month of May, 2016 planning 0
- Indiana native Bryan Clauson ready for special Indy 500 return 5
- On eve of 300th IndyCar start, Helio Castroneves eyes record-tying fourth Indy 500 win 3
- Alex Tagliani to drive 3rd AJ Foyt car in Indy 500, will pay tribute to Dan Gurney 3
- NHRA legend John Force turns 66, not slowing down any time soon 2