After letting the Michael Waltrip Racing penalty sink in for a day, it still hasn’t sunk in. The size of this penalty is astronomical. Never before seen and then some, is how I would describe the overall situation. Trying to manipulate the end of the race is a clear no-no in NASCAR’s eyes and they assessed it to the best of their ability. Could they have issued it a little differently? Sure, but in the fashion they actually did hand it out in has sent volumes beyond the NASCAR world.
Taking Martin Truex Jr. out of the Chase was the most obvious thing that needed to be done. He was cheated into the Chase, even if he personally didn’t have anything to do with it. He chose MWR to represent him when he signed the contract, so he has to live with their decisions no matter what they may be.
Even thought the evidence isn’t exactly there to prove Clint Bowyer’s spin with seven laps to go was intentional, it was what started this whole deal. I do believe the spin was intentional and Bowyer gave it all away. Not through his words, but his body language spoke loud and clear. He wasn’t himself in interviews after the race and that is what led to some suspicion.
Despite Bowyer’s penalty having little effect regarding the Chase, it will have a huge impact on him personally. He will have to live with what he did and what his team did, therefore, being distracted regularly which will likely keep him away from the front of the field. Don’t look for the No.15 team to get over this huge bump in the road anytime soon.
Lastly, Michael Waltrip has taken a huge hit based on the decisions others on his team made. Waltrip is one the nicest guys in the garage and I believe his part in this was minimal at most. Ty Norris seemed to be the ring-leader in this all, so putting any blame Waltrip is not the right thing to do.
Head waves were made by NASCAR through handing down this unprecedented penalty and overall, they did the right thing. They could not let this evade them and they surely didn’t. This is one of the biggest moments in NASCAR history. NASCAR had their credibility at stake which is something that doesn’t happen often. They made the right call, but don’t expect any of this to die down anytime in the near future.
By Jason Schultz