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Rick Hendrick talks about decision to put Gordon into Chase

Sep 15, 2013, 6:30 PM EDT

Daytona 500 - Practice Getty Images

Earlier today, NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick – who now has all four of his drivers in this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup after the sanctioning body put in Jeff Gordon as a 13th Chase driver – declared that it was clear Gordon deserved to be in the post-season after last Saturday’s race at Richmond International Raceway.

“I didn’t have to make that decision, but I sure felt like it was obvious that [Gordon] got taken out by a manipulation instead of getting beat,” Hendrick said at Chicagoland Speedway according to Jim Litke of The Associated Press.  “I think the world knew it and they had to do what they did.”

NASCAR’s decision to add Gordon to the playoff run was the second change to its post-season field made since the events of Richmond, in which Clint Bowyer intentionally spun out with seven laps to go to try and help Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. make the Chase.

That spin proved to stop Ryan Newman from winning the race and earning a Wild Card spot in the Chase, but this past Monday, penalties levied against MWR knocked Truex out of the Chase and brought Newman in. Then on Friday, NASCAR made its unprecedented decision to add a 13th driver to the Chase – Gordon, who was also impacted negatively by Bowyer’s spin.

According to the AP, Hendrick believed the penalties will be helpful in the long run to teams and drivers in regards to knowing what they can and can’t do. NASCAR held a closed-door meeting yesterday at Chicagoland, telling team personnel that a 100 percent effort is expected from here on in.

Today, Hendrick is a bit happier than how he felt last weekend after the Richmond race.

“…I was just disgusted and left,” he said according to the AP. “I didn’t hang around. I got out of there as soon as it was over because it wouldn’t have done any good.”

  1. barkar942 - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    HENDRICKCAR…. I mean NASCAR at it’s finest!
    NASCAR has evolved from independent teams to multi-car teams (now “limited” to 4, although Hendrick supplies cars for half of the field), and teammates work together all of the time to manipulate 5 bonus points for leading a lap, come in and pit at the same time so they have a drafting partner, come in and pit when you are down laps so you can block in your teammate’s competitor for an extra second or two on pit road, etc., etc., etc.
    For Waltrip to tell Vickers to pit to give Truex the spot needed to make the Chase, I see nothing wrong with that at all Big money to be made in the Chase. Boyer’s itchy arm? Every racer knows how to spin out their car (Dale Jr.) when it will benefit them. The trick is making it look good (Jimmy Johnson just in time to get Gordon back his lap).NASCAR’s ruling after the fact saying everyone must give 100% effort to do their best(ten start and park teams that pull out with vibration problems week after week after week).
    NASCAR has become a world of corporate America puppets, not men out for a rough and tumble 500 mile race (down to 300 or 400 to appease the network TV gang). The sport has been watered down on all levels, including the inclusion of Jeffy in the Chase.
    But we wouldn’t want to upset Mr. H, now, would we, Mr. France?

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