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article imageNASCAR: Newman in, Truex Jr. out as 'Chase' field is shuffled

By John Duarte     Sep 13, 2013 in Sports
Daytona Beach - NASCAR officials reviewed last weekend's Sprint Cup race and have handed stiff penalties to Michael Waltrip Racing prior to the start of the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup.
The organization deemed that the racing team had breached the rules, in that they had taken “actions detrimental to stock car racing,” and slapped Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) with penalties following the Sept. 7 race at Richmond International Raceway. The team and its drivers had points deducted, one crew member was suspended indefinitely and the team was also fined $300,000. NASCAR's vice-president of competition, Robin Pembert, said in a released statement that “ the MWR organization attempted to manipulate the outcome of the race” and that “the actions taken reflect the organization's commitment to ensure the highest level of competition possible.”
The points deductions mean MWR's Martin Truex Jr. falls out of contention in the drivers' standings and Ryan Newman is added to the 12 drivers in the hunt for the Sprint Cup.
“It's difficult. It's not an easy decision to make,” said NASCAR president Mike Helton. He added that the actions taken are not meant to simply penalize the offending team. “We penalize (as a way) to ask for it not to happen again. It's a message from the league or the sanctioning body saying you can't do this and expect us no to react to it.”
The ruling comes after on-track incidents at the Federated Auto Parts 400, on Sept. 7. With seven laps to go in the race, Clint Bowyer spun to bring out a caution flag. The incident was most costly to Newman, who had been leading the race at the time and ended up finishing third. This benefited Bowyer's Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Truex Jr., who made the list of 12 drivers making the Chase for the Sprint Cup by virtue of a tiebreaker with Newman.
After the race and as reported in Digital Journal, Bowyer dismissed speculation he had initiated the spin on purpose for the good of his team and said, “I know it's a lot of fun for you guys to write a lot of wacky things. Go ahead, if you want to. Get creative. But don't look too much into it.
“I think we had something go wrong,” he said after the race. “By the time I got on the gas, he (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) was underneath me (on the race track). I spun out.”
Newman had a different view of the incident and said, “Based on my opinion (from) inside a race car, that it was not entirely an accident.” He refused to speculate any further, but simply looked ahead at the chance of challenging for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.
“Just extremely excited about the opportunity.” He said that challenging for the Sprint Cup is long been a goal and simply “didn't have the moons correctly aligned to do what we needed to do here. This is a great opportunity for me personally.”
After re-calculating the points and re-seeding the field, the 12 drivers vying for the Sprint Cup this year are Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Joey Logano, Greg Biffle, Bowyer, Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne and Newman.
The Chase gets underway with the Geico 400, on Sept. 15, at Chicagoland Speedway and comes to a conclusion at Homestead-Miami Speedway, on Nov. 17.
After reseeding drivers  NASCAR officials have announced the list of contenders for the 2013 Chase f...
After reseeding drivers, NASCAR officials have announced the list of contenders for the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup, a 10-race championship shootout which starts Sunday (Sept. 15) at Chicagoland Speedway. The 12 drivers vying for the Sprint Cup title are (from left to right, back row) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano. Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Bush, (front row) Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman.
avid Banks/NASCAR via Getty Images
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