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Penalties handed out over Phoenix fracas

“We accept the penalties announced by NASCAR today and look forward to finishing what has been a breakthrough season for Michael Waltrip Racing," the team said in a statement, after having earlier apologised for the conduct of its team member in the immediate aftermath of the incident.

“The goal of Michael Waltrip Racing is to be a championship-level organization both on and off the track. The on-track incident which occurred during Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway was extremely disappointing and brought raw emotions of a long and hard championship battle to the surface," the team explained. "Though we generally cannot control certain actions on the track, the unfortunate reactions off the track Sunday did not live up to the professional standards in which Michael Waltrip Racing expects all of its representatives to live by."

Team owner Michael Waltrip himself had been scathing of Gordon in post-race interviews on Sunday. "What a sad act that was by Jeff Gordon ... Cowardly, chicken and sad," he told the media even as fists were flying elsewhere on pit road.

Gordon's wrecking of Bowyer meant that the MWR driver was eliminated from contention in the 2012 Chase for the championship, another reason why Gordon's act of retaliation had been seen as such a serious matter.

"That was my opportunity to get myself back into the championship hunt," Bowyer said on Sunday. "When you disrupt a championship hunt like that, it's too bad. They ask us not to do that at the drivers meeting and there's usually a lot of respect there. It's crazy ... It's pretty embarrassing for a four-time champion."

Championship leader Brad Keselowski had been equally critical of the incident. "These guys just tried to kill each other," he told reporters. "It's just [expletive] ridiculous, and they should be ashamed. It's embarrassing."

Keselowski wasn't sanctioned for using profane language in post-race media interviews - but he did receive a surprise $25,000 fine of his own for using his mobile phone to tweet messages from his car while the field was stopped under a red flag for the Gordon/Bowyer incident. Keselowski will also be under probation for the rest of the year, but crucially does not lose any championship points.

Keselowski's penalty is because of a NASCAR rule that allows the use of digital communications devices from the car during a race, which includes mobile phones. That's to ensure that teams can't sent messages to their drivers during the race that can't be monitored by NASCAR officials.

Keselowski got away with a similar incident during the Daytona 500 when he tweeted from the track during a red flag for Juan Montoya's impact into the back of a jet dryer, but all drivers and teams were subsequently reminded of the rule and told that any new occurrence would be penalised.

No other penalties were handed out on Monday, and Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition, indicated that no further sanctions would be announced as a result of the Phoenix fracas, which also saw a chaotic green-white-chequered finish with multiple spins as a result of oil on the track. The owner of the winning car on Sunday, Richard Childress, had been very vocal in his criticism of NASCAR's failure to throw a caution flag in time.




Related Pictures

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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, prepares to drive during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 24, 2012 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Clint Bowyer, NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. [Picture credit: Geoff Burke, Getty Images for NASCAR]
Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, collide on track during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 11, 2012 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Police break up fights in the garage area after an on-track incident between Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon (neither pictured) during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 11, 2012 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images_
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 2nd position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined on the front row by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS who won the Pole position. Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, won the pole position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined by Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS on the front row. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, speaks during a press conference prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Fastenal Ford, climbs out of his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 8, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, talks to his crew chief, Paul Wolfe, after failing to advance to the championship round of the Chase for the Spring Cup after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/ Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, speaks to the media during a press conference after failing to advance to race for the championship in the season finale after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 8, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/ Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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Neil22 - Unregistered

November 13, 2012 8:54 PM

Big mistake by Jeff, he should know better. However, Bowyer has been using that splitter as a weapon all season long and it was only a matter of time till someone called him on it. Hey NASCAR, think you might be able to disarm the cars next year?

Shannon Bean - Unregistered

November 14, 2012 1:45 AM

Debbie,I agree with most of your comment but there a few things that I want to address too on it.When Brad said his curse word he was not on national television so that's the loophole NASCAR is using on that one.I agree all drivers should be handed the same punishment for the same violations as you pointed out,but I also think NASCAR has messed up again as well in the point that they fined only Brian Pattie and Michael Waltrip as a team owner in this incident on Clint's side.Clint's entire pit crew attacked Jeff when he got out of that car so they should all be fined for that unsportsmanlike conduct as well.I also think Clint himself should be fined for the way he escalated the incident by running across the pits to go after Jeff after his pit crew had already jumped on him.That was also conduct unbecoming therefore he should have to pay also.What is good for the goose is good for the gander.You can't just pick and choose when all involved acted like barbarians.As far as Brad being fin



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