After taking two days to deliberate, NASCAR President Mike Helton and NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France have announced that events during last Saturday’s race at Richmond International Raceway influenced The Chase field yet again.
Radio communications between the driver of the No. 38, David Gilliland, and his team that night included talk of giving a spot to Joey Logano so he could enter the top ten and use his win for bonus points. On another channel, the spotter talked with his crew chief about a “prior agreement” between them and the No. 22 team. Gilliland then allowed Logano to pass him, pushing him into The Chase’s top ten and also kicking Jeff Gordon out of the way.
Gordon, who currently has no wins, needed to finish in the top ten in points for the chance to make the playoffs, but Logano and Penske Racing’s mischievous ways denied him that opportunity.
So, Friday afternoon, Helton and France announced at Chicagoland Speedway that Gordon would be added as a thirteenth car in to normally twelve-car field for the championship battle. The change is unprecedented and a huge shock to many.
“[Gordon] had an unfair disadvantage,” France stated, also adding that he has “the authority” to make changes to the playoffs as he sees fit. Helton revealed that Penske and Front Row Motorsports -who Gilliland runs for- have been placed on probation for the remained of the year.
This comes a few days after Michael Waltrip Racing and its drivers were penalized after intentionally affecting the race to benefit Martin Truex Jr.’s Chase run.