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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_
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, holds his daughter, Lydia Sunday, November 22, 2015 before final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Johnson and other Jeff Gordon teammates at Hendrick Motorsports wore tribute hats to honor the retiring Chevy driver prior to the start of the race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to a sixth place finish Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Gordon finishes third in the Chase for the Cup Championship. This was Gordon`s last race as a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. He has made 796 consecutive Cup Series starts, earned 93 wins, and 81 poles - all behind the wheel of Chevrolets. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place, and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision finishes in twelfth place Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. This Chevrolet drivers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th (respectively) in the Chase of the Cup Championship. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Former racing driver Mario Andretti, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton pose during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Crest Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, qualifies for thirteenth position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick will be joined by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, qualifies for eleventh position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Truex, Jr. will be joined by Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fifth position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Gordon will be joined by Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. Sunday will be Gordon`s last race as a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, advances to the Championship 4 with his fourteenth place finish Sunday, November 15, 2015 in the final round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Truex, Jr. is joined with Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Pepsi Chevrolet SS, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS to the Sprint Cup Series Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida next Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Pepsi Chevrolet SS, advances to the Championship 4 with his sixth place finish Sunday, November 15, 2015 in the final round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Phoenix International Raceway (renamed Jeff Gordon Raceway for the day to honor the four-time champion) in Avondale, Arizona. Gordon is joined with Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS  and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS to the Sprint Cup Series Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida next Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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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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