Skip to content

One day later, Clint Bowyer addresses NASCAR penalties (UPDATED)

Sep 10, 2013, 1:56 PM EDT

NASCAR may have severely punished Michael Waltrip Racing for “manipulating the outcome” of Saturday’s Chase-deciding event at Richmond International Raceway, but it would appear that a wide margin of people believe NASCAR didn’t do enough.

Clint Bowyer, the man who started all of this controversy when he spun out with seven laps to go in the Federated Auto Parts 400, may have been docked 50 points along with his MWR teammates, Martin Truex Jr. and Brian Vickers. But Bowyer’s still in the Chase, whereas Truex no longer is.

However, Bowyer will still have to face constant questions about his actions Saturday night. That questioning began today, when he made a visit to ESPN as part of NASCAR’s “Chase Across America” media tour.

Before Bowyer’s lunch-time appearance on SportsCenter, Ryan Newman told ESPN that he had received a call from him regarding the events of Saturday night.

According to Newman, who ascended to the second Wild Card spot after Truex was booted out of the Chase, Bowyer apologized – telling him that he had been “sick to his stomach” over the matter.

But while Bowyer felt that the phone call “needed to be made,” he wouldn’t answer a question about whether the call was an admission that he had spun out intentionally at RIR.

“Let’s not dig too much into this,” Bowyer said. “I’ve dealt with that the last couple of days – there are a lot of opinions on the things that happened. Obviously, I gave my interview after the races of what happened.

“You know, we’ve been penalized – the biggest penalty in NASCAR history. We’re gonna get through this as a race team. There’s a lot of racing left with what’s going on. The Chase is alive, it starts this weekend. And somehow, through all of this, I’ve got to get my focus back onto the Chase – business as usual.

“I have a lot of fans that have followed us through this and have been behind me, and I appreciate that. For the fans that don’t agree or are upset, I apologize.”

A follow-up question on what exactly he was apologizing for yielded a response from Bowyer that wasn’t especially clear.

“I went from leading the race into the middle of a disaster,” he said. “I’m extremely disappointed in the way the race was. I could’ve easily have been in Victory Lane. It’s a bad deal, a bad deal all the way around for MWR. Again, we’ve been penalized for this. We stand by our actions and we own up to them, and we’re gonna get through this together and go on.”

Bowyer then got grilled by Cup driver-turned-ESPN analyst Ricky Craven, who asked him about how he plans to deal with his fellow racers at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend.

“I’m gonna go there like I always have – I’m gonna go there, put my helmet on, and compete and race as hard as I can for a win for [sponsor] 5-Hour Energy, for Toyota and for all of our partners,” Bowyer said.

“It’s a bad situation. It is. If you think I can look into a crystal ball and tell you everything that happened after that race and do all of this, it’s crazy to think that. We’re all competitive, we’ve all been in this sport a long time and we’ve all seen a lot of wild things happen over the years…There’s only one thing that I can promise you: Chicago’s gonna happen this weekend and I’ll be ready.”

Bowyer also talked about how he and MWR will deal with the issue as a team moving forward, noting the inherent pressures involved in NASCAR’s championship stretch.

“Let me tell you something, people don’t realize how much pressure is around the Chase,” he said. “I don’t want this story to be the story of the Chase. There’s tremendous amounts of pressure.

“There’s a lot on the line for a lot of race teams, and a whole year’s work went into this. We were locked into the Chase weeks ago. We’ve been preparing for this for a long time, and I feel like we’ve got a shot, and I’m excited.”

But Craven, who said he’d give Bowyer the “benefit of the doubt,” still got in some words that likely resonate with the portion of the NASCAR fan base that believes Bowyer was in the wrong at Richmond.

“You wanna talk about pressure? Look at the economy and the people that spent their hard-earned money to fly to Richmond, to buy a ticket, to participate in the weekend, and they might have felt like they got robbed,” he said.

“I’m only bringing that point up to suggest that this is much bigger than any one of us. What happened Saturday night put into play the integrity of the sport.”

UPDATE (1:56 p.m. ET): Clint Bowyer had a second live SportsCenter interview in which he talked about the Chase controversy surrounding him and Michael Waltrip Racing. As you’d figure, some of the territory covered in “Round Two” was relatively the same as that of “Round One.”

But there were some differences:

1) In the second interview, Bowyer directly addressed a tweet from Jeff Gordon that said he did not agree with “the guy who started all of this” not losing his spot in the Chase. While doing so, he referenced their infamous post-race confrontation last fall at Phoenix.

“Everybody knows Gordon and I have had our issues. I got wiped out of the championship chase with two races to go and he got penalized. No different than I got penalized at MWR.”

Gordon was fined $100,000 and lost 25 points for his role in the 2012 Phoenix incident.

2) In the first interview, Bowyer seemed to dance around the question of whether he had spun intentionally at Richmond. But in the second interview, when he got the same query, he responded “No.”

He was then asked about the matter of no one else being around him at the time of the spin.

“Again, how did we go from a car fast enough to lead the race – we couldn’t even line up,” Bowyer replied. “I went straight backwards. Trust me, when the 15 car’s on the race track, it goes forward, and if it doesn’t, something’s wrong.”

Latest Posts
  1. Porsche powers to 1-2 in final Nürburgring WEC practice

    Aug 29, 2015, 4:38 AM EDT

    © FIA WEC © FIA WEC

    Marc Lieb storms to the top of the timesheets in the no. 18 Porsche, heading up a 1-2 finish in FP3.

  2. Power sets the pace in Sonoma’s Friday marathon session

    Aug 28, 2015, 9:11 PM EDT

    © INDYCAR © INDYCAR

    A long day on Friday ends with Will Power on top of the timesheets.

  3. Drivers reflect on Wilson at Sonoma (VIDEO)

    Aug 28, 2015, 8:11 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Quick series of interviews and tributes flow in for Justin Wilson on site at Sonoma.

  4. NHRA: Don Schumacher Racing releases Spencer Massey effective immediately

    Aug 28, 2015, 7:16 PM EDT

    AP AP

    The 10th place driver in NHRA Top Fuel standings gets released from his contract at DSR.

  5. Karam reflective, thinking of Wilson family upon heading to Sonoma

    Aug 28, 2015, 6:40 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Sage Karam speaks with reporters Friday at Sonoma Raceway.

  6. MotoGP: Marquez, Lorenzo lead the way in British GP practice at Silverstone

    Aug 28, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    BRNO, CZECH REPUBLIC - AUGUST 14:  Marc Marquez of Spain and Repsol Honda Team rounds the bend during the MotoGp of Czech Republic - Free Practice at Brno Circuit on August 14, 2015 in Brno, Czech Republic.  (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Marquez and Lorenzo continue their fight at the front of the MotoGP field in practice at Silverstone on Friday.

  7. Renault e.dams confirms Prost and Buemi for upcoming Formula E season

    Aug 28, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    E.Dams-Renaults Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi drives during qualifying practice at the 2015 FIA Formula E London ePrix championship at Battersea Park in London on June 28, 2015. AFP PHOTO / IAN KINGTON        (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Prost and Buemi retained by the defending teams’ champion for season two.

  8. Lieb: Porsche pumped up following Le Mans success

    Aug 28, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT

    Germany's Marc Lieb steers his Porsche 919 during the 83rd Le Mans 24-hours endurance race, on June 14, 2015 in Le Mans, western France. Fifty-six cars with 168 drivers participate on June 13 and 14 in the Le Mans 24-hours endurance race. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME SOUVANT        (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Porsche will debut a new aero kit at this weekend’s 6 Hours of Nürburgring in Germany.

  9. Bottas expected more from Williams in 2015

    Aug 28, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 23:  Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Williams drives during the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 23, 2015 in Spa, Belgium.  (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Finnish driver admits Williams expected to be further ahead than it is.

  10. Audi on top once again in second Nürburgring WEC practice

    Aug 28, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT

    The Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro No7 of the Audi Sport Team Joest driven by Marcel Fassler of Switzerland, Andre Lotterer of Germany and Benoit Treluyer of France is seen in action during the first qualifying practice session of the 83rd 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. The race will begin on Saturday, June 13. (AP Photo/David Vincent) AP

    Benoit Treluyer shoots to the top of the timesheets late on in FP2.

  11. Hamilton unmoved by FIA Pole Trophy success

    Aug 28, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    xxxx during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 22, 2015 in Spa, Belgium. Getty Images

    Hamilton wrapped up the second annual FIA Pole Trophy last weekend in Belgium.

  12. Mallya targeting top-four finish for Force India in 2016

    Aug 28, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Practice Getty Images

    Mallya expresses his delight in Force India’s form despite having a smaller workforce and budget than many of its rivals.

  13. Button tests World RX car, following in his father’s footsteps

    Aug 28, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    © World RX © World RX

    Button’s father John raced in rallycross during the 1970s and 1980s.

  14. Preview: IndyCar will race to honor Wilson, and to close its season, at Sonoma

    Aug 28, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    AP AP

    Montoya, Rahal the two likely contenders to claim Power’s crown, as IndyCar looks for solace and a great race to end the season and ease the pain after the loss of Justin Wilson.

  15. Audi quickest in opening WEC practice at the Nürburgring

    Aug 28, 2015, 7:44 AM EDT

    <> on June 13, 2015 in Le Mans, France. Getty Images

    First blood to Audi as its battle with Porsche is rekindled on home soil.

  16. Andretti to field No. 25 car at Sonoma; Oriol Servia to drive Wilson tribute car

    Aug 27, 2015, 6:14 PM EDT

    ServiaRLLreturn Getty Images

    Oriol Servia will race in what was Justin Wilson’s car this weekend at Sonoma.

  17. IndyCars cross the Golden Gate Bridge; pay tribute to Justin Wilson (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

    Aug 27, 2015, 4:21 PM EDT

    © INDYCAR © INDYCAR

    IndyCars cross the Golden Gate Bridge in a motorcade, for pre-title buildup and to pay tribute to Justin Wilson.

  18. Aleshin geared up ahead of IndyCar return at Sonoma

    Aug 27, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    TORONTO - JULY 18:  Mikhail Aleshin of Russia driver of the #7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara Honda during practice for the Verizon IndyCar Series Honda Indy Toronto on the streets of Toronto on July 18, 2014, in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Aleshin returns to IndyCar this weekend after a year away.