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Gordon becomes 13th man in the Chase

NASCAR has announced that as a result of its latest investigation into the events last weekend at Richmond International Raceway, Jeff Gordon will be added to the 2013 Chase line-up.
It's Friday 13th, 2013 and Jeff Gordon has just become the 13th man in the 12-driver line-up of this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. It might just make him the luckiest man in the sport.

In a special news conference on Friday at Chicagoland Speedway, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and NASCAR president Mike Helton made the announcement that left even the most experienced journalists covering the series reeling with shock. The decision to promote Gordon into the 2013 Chase followed days of investigations into the latest allegations of race manipulation at last weekend's race at Richmond International Speedway.

On Monday, NASCAR concluded that Michael Waltrip Racing had improperly used team orders to affect the race outcome so that one of their cars, the #56 of Martin Truex Jr., made it into the Chase. Penalties imposed on the team included a record fine and a points deduction that dropped Truex out of the Chase and promoted Ryan Newman into the play-offs in his place. However, NASCAR insisted at the time that they could go nothing about the 'ripple effects' of MWR's actions that had seen Jeff Gordon lose his place in the Chase to Penske Racing's Joey Logano.

However, further team radio transcripts uncovered midweek by The Associated Press suggested that Penske had attempted to strike a deal with Front Row Racing to ask David Gilliland to allow Logano past to gain a vital position that put the #22 into the Chase at Gordon's expense. After review, NASCAR said that it did not have enough explicit proof to conclude that the teams had actually engaged in collusion, but decided that some sort of action was required to maintain the integrity of this year's championship.

“Based on all of our findings this week, we determined both Front Row Motorsports and Penske Racing organisations would be placed on probation for the remainder of this season,” announced France. "Additionally, based upon the totality of our findings, to be totally fair and equitable we decided that adding a 13th car to this year's Chase is the appropriate action."

That 13th car is the #24 of Hendrick Motorsport's four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon, who has had to wait for six long days to get his place in the Chase.

“Beginning with our decision Monday, which resulted in an unprecedented team penalty, and continuing with further examination of actions involving two other race teams, it is clear to us that attempts to manipulate the results impacted the Chase field," France continued. "The integrity of our sport remains the cornerstone of NASCAR, and our actions this week speak to our commitment to ensure a level playing field for all competitors."

NASCAR also said that it would be holding a mandatory meeting with drivers, owners, crew chiefs and other team personnel on Saturday to address the issues that had arisen post-Richmond and how the sport would move forward regarding the rules and ethics of racing. The meeting would not be open to media.

"As you're well aware, we've been looking at a lot of video, audio and timing and scoring information and other data from the Richmond race," said Helton. "What we've decided is in addition to what other actions we've taken, we're going to put Front Row Motorsports and Penske Racing both on probation for the balance of the year for actions detrimental."




Related Pictures

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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, signs autographs during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2013 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS finished 6th Sunday, September 1, 2013 in the Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Gordon moved up two positions and now ranks 11th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo Credit: Harold Hinson for Chevrolet)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 56th Annual Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 7, 2013 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS placed 3rd in the qualifying run Friday, April 26, 2013 at Richmond International Raceway for Saturday`s Toyota Owners 400 race in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas for Chevrolet)
Brian France, chairman & CEO of NASCAR, and Mike Helton, president of NASCAR, speak during a press conference following practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2013 in Joliet, Illinois. NASCAR announced that Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, would be added as a 13th driver in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.  (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, leads the field after a restart during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, places his name in the top twelve on The Chase Grid after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, puts the winner`s sticker on his car in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cars race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Eckrich Ford, races Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, leads the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates with his son, Keelan, in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Splash-FVP/Menards Toyota, leads a pack of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Johnny Sauter, driver of the #98 Nextant/Curb Records Toyota, leads the field through the green flag to start the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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GreenEnvy 22

September 14, 2013 2:34 AM

It's great they caught the guys cheating and they deserve the punishment, but it does seem a little hypocritical. I know I'm not the only one who views Nascar's phantom yellow's for "debris" as rather suspicious. They often seem to conveniently setup exciting finishes or fixing a runaway race. That all said, I haven't watched a Nascar race, outside the odd road course race and the Daytona 500, for the last several years.



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