Saturday, September 14, 2013

NASCAR Meets With Drivers Today

Helton and France draw their line in the sand
NASCAR officials will hold a mandatory, closed-door meeting with drivers, team owners and crew chiefs today to set a clear ethical course for the remainder of the 2013 season, and beyond.

In the aftermath of Saturday night’s regular season finale at Richmond International Raceway that saw a number of teams attempt to manipulate the outcome of the race, NASCAR President Mike Helton said Friday that the sanctioning body will meet with teams to “make more clear the path going forward as it applies to the rules of racing and the ethical part of it.”

NASCAR chairman Brian France announced yesterday that he has added Jeff Gordon as a 13th Chase contender; the latest in a series of moves that included a historic, $300,000 fine levied against Michael Waltrip Racing. Those sanctions resulted in the removal of MWR driver Martin Truex, Jr. from the Chase field and the addition of Ryan Newman. NASCAR has also placed Penske Racing and Front Row Motorsports on probation for the remainder of the season as a result of late-race position swapping by drivers Joey Logano and David Gilliland.

France cited that “multiple set of circumstances” as justification for adding Gordon to the Chase. Now, NASCAR will reportedly draw its ethical line in the sand today, telling teams specifically what will – and will not – be tolerated going forward.

Johnson: "This is all new territory."
“We owe it to the drivers, and we also want to get input,” said France yesterday. “There are lines (and) they will be much clearer coming out of tomorrow than they are today. The most important thing is the integrity of the event, and we'll deal with that.”

Coming off a week filled with emotional twists and turns, Gordon said he welcomes NASCAR’s input.

“I’m excited for this meeting.” he said. “I think that the integrity of the sport has been put in question. I think we have one of the greatest sports that exists. To see our integrity get questioned is very upsetting to me, and I think we, along with NASCAR, have to solve this. 

“I think we're going to get reprimanded a little bit,” predicted Gordon, “because it doesn't all lie on NASCAR. We all have responsibility in this.”

Former series champion Jimmie Johnson agreed, saying, “I’m sure (there will be) a lot of threats and things. This is something I’ve never seen or been a part of in my career. This is all new territory, so this is going to be the start of a process. It’s a big deal for Mike Helton and Brian France to say they care this much about the integrity of the event. At the end of the day, all we can hope for is to go out there and race in an event where the best man wins.”

Not everyone feels the meeting is necessary, however. Hendrick Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne said he has no problem differentiating ethical on-track conduct from what occurred at Richmond.

“I feel like I have plenty of clarity,” he said. “I feel like I know what you’re supposed to do and what you’re not. I don’t understand why it’s so difficult. I’m going to go tomorrow and make sure what I’m thinking is correct, but I don’t think I’m missing too much right now.”

Necessary or not, NASCAR seems determined to make a clear statement regarding future on-track conduct.

“No matter what it takes, the integrity of the sport will never be in question,” said Helton. “We're going to make sure that we have the right rules going forward, so that the integrity of the competitive landscape of the events (is) not altered or manipulated.”


  1. Anonymous12:00 PM

    Are they going to pick a name out of a hat and put them in the Chase?
    Congratulations, Reed Sorenson! You're in the Chase!

  2. NASCAR has been put in an untenable position. I know there are many different opinions about the decisions that have been made, but I appreciate NASCAR addressing the entire integrity issue.

    As a fan, I am hoping some of the media will recognize that all of the negative tweets and criticisms only add fuel to the fire during a time when we are trying to build the sport, not tear it down. NASCAR has taken a blow, but I am confident the sport will remain strong based on the quality of the on-track racing, coupled with the "no-nonsense" approach taken by Brian France and Mike Helton.

  3. I think the integrity of the sport is in question.l don't understand why Gordon gets a chase spot on what might have happened.

    1. No, Gordon gets a spot on what DID happen!

  4. all NASCAR is going to tell them is don't be so obvious about cheating so we won't have to deal with this in the future. NASCAR is also going to tell them we will do whatever we want to and there is nothing anyone can do except accept it

  5. Anonymous1:38 PM

    Somebunny is always going to try to run a game...what was that quote,not sure who said it, "If you ain't cheating, you ain't racing"? How much of this drama would have occurred if they'd just kept their mouths shut after doing the dirty deed(s)?
    Tommy from Long Island

  6. Anonymous2:57 PM

    Here comes follow the leader racing till the last 10 laps. If the competitor have to look over their shoulder or deal with cranky radios and not enough spotters the risk of crashing or running another driver out of the groove is going to make the racing unwatchable.

    I understand the problem NASCAR faces, but they could have solved it by throwing MWR out for the rest of the year and not punishing everyone else.

  7. More arbitrary rules from NASCAR. An organization that is unwilling to disqualify a team for technical violations found post race has no integrity. The owners and drivers are just doing the same thing NASCAR themselves are doing.

    I'm still waiting for the announcement that Danica Patrick has been added to the chase.

    Does the NFL decide who makes the playoffs after the fact if an official blows a call that costs a team an important win?

    Well, NASCAR now does, so fans leaving the track will always know who won the race, but they won't always know who made the chase. Anyone see a flaw in that logic?

  8. Anonymous10:56 PM

    Thank you NASCAR for setting the ground rules where they need to a fan I want to see a RACE, not some negotiated game, where the driver with the best spotter/deal maker eventually wins. MWR started this mess with the command to Bowye to itch it, and NASCAR had the unfortunate job of cleaning it up. As a fan I am very happy with their approach to this. Let's go racing!

  9. Anonymous6:16 AM

    " Let's Go Racing "