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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_
Chase Elliott, driver of the #24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet SS, stops in his pit on his way to a fifth place finish Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Elliott takes over the #24 car from retired driver Jeff Gordon.  (Photo by Ashley R Dickerson for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s / Superman Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s / Superman Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 American Ethanol Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 18, 2016 in Fontana, California.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, celebrates his eighth Phoenix win with his crew Sunday, March 13, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. He won by a hundredth of a second, closest finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup History. This was Harvick`s 500th consecutive series start, a feat accomplished only by 14 others throughout the history of NASCAR.  (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to his eighth Phoenix win with Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS who finished in sixth place Sunday, March 13, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Harvick won by a hundredth of a second, closest finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup History. This was his 500th consecutive series start, a feat accomplished only by 14 others throughout the history of NASCAR. (Photo by Andrew Coppley for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, takes the chequered flag for his eighth Phoenix win Sunday, March 13, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. He won by a hundredth of a second, closest finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup History. This was Harvick`s 500th consecutive series start, a feat accomplished only by 14 others throughout the history of NASCAR. (Photo by Andrew Coppley for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, celebrates his eighth Phoenix win Sunday, March 13, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. He won by a hundredth of a second, closest finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup History. This was Harvick`s 500th consecutive series start, a feat accomplished only by 14 others throughout the history of NASCAR. (Photo by Gregg Ellman for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, leads Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy / Haas Automation Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, beats Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, to the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, poses with the winner`s decal on his car in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Christian Petersen/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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