JOLIET, Ill. —
Now that France has expanded the field to 13 drivers to accommodate Gordon, if NASCAR could back up to Monday, the $1 million fine to MWR might have made it easy to accept expanding the field to 14 to accommodate Gordon, Newman and Truex.
—Different Standards: Once Vickers’ action had been singled out, teams all across the garage had to worry. They’d all been trading favors forever and many were at Richmond.
It didn’t take long to discover Joey Logano had help making the Chase — first from Vickers and Bowyer, who in aiding Truex had to help Logano — but also from fellow Ford driver David Gilliland.
Front Row Motorsports offered to have Gilliland move over for Logano during radio discussions about negotiating with deep-pocketed Penske Racing.
The Penske team — referred to as “the whole committee” and “the big dog and all of his cronies” on the Front Row radio — was too smart to get its hands dirty. NASCAR had no evidence of any Penske wrongdoing because the team either did its bidding over digital radio not accessible to the public or communicated directly with the spotter on top of the Richmond roof.
But NASCAR had to do something after hammering MWR, right?
Penske and Front Row got a slap on the wrist with probation and a new rule banning digitial radios and anyone but the spotter from the roof.
While MWR, which was harshly rebuked by sponsor NAPA in the days after its penalty, is hoping this incident doesn’t ruin its team, the only thing Penske Racing has to worry about is finding a new spot for Roger Penske to watch the races.
The one thing NASCAR did get right was defining new “rules of the road” in France’s Saturday meeting. Banned going forward is any sort of action that could be considered as artificially altering the outcome of the race. Drivers now have one job — drive as hard as they can, every lap, from start to finish.
Sometime in the early morning hours Monday, after teammate Matt Kenseth had beaten him to the finish line in the opening Chase race, Kyle Busch noted he’d done everything possible to win the race.
“100 percent,” he shrugged.
One hundred percent, indeed.