08 September 2013

Did Clint Bowyer spin on purpose to get Martin Truex, Jr. into the Chase? UPDATED

As the laps were winding down before the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup field was to be set last night at Richmond, Ryan Newman, on the bubble himself, was on his way to a huge victory which would get himself into the field. And if Newman were to win, Martin Truex, Jr. would be on the outside, just missing the Chase field. But then, Truex's teammate, Clint Bowyer, spun out by himself with seven laps to go. As a result of his spin and the ensuing caution, the leaders came down to pit and thus in the end, Carl Edwards won, Newman finished third, Truex finished seventh and thus it was he who got into the Chase on the basis of a tiebreaker. The spin also affected Jeff Gordon, who was in the Chase before the spin but ended up missing out with Joey Logano getting in. But it is that spin that has everybody in the NASCAR world talking.

Update: NASCAR has dropped the hammer on MWR. All MWR drivers were docked 50 points, dropping Truex out of the Chase and putting Newman in. Competition director Ty Norris has also been suspended indefinitely.

It certainly was an odd spin considering Bowyer was running by himself, leading Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who was running ahead of the 15, to say this:
"He just spun right out. That's the craziest thing I ever saw...He was hemming around on the brakes and jerking the car around, and then the thing just spun out. It was crazy. I don't know what was going on."
And then this in-car video and audio certainly did not quiet the suspicious.
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That is Bowyer's spotter Brent Griffin telling him that the 39 was going to win the race and showing some clear disappointment in that development. Then you hear crew chief Brian Pattie asking if Bowyer's arm was starting to hurt and saying he should itch it. Of course, Bowyer then spins out.

Personally, I think that video is pretty damning that there was some sort of shenanigans on Bowyer's part in order to try to give Truex a chance to get into the Chase. Plus, then you read the feed of Geoffrey Miller from Yahoo and B/R and that entails an even greater list of questionable and bizarre things done by Bowyer down the stretch. For the record, Bowyer denies that he spun the car out, although he's not very sure what went wrong, and owner Michael Waltrip said that he was unaware of Bowyer spinning out, but then why did he come up to Truex after the race and say this:
With all of that evidence, I think it's pretty darn clear that Bowyer spun himself out on purpose. And even if it has happened before, it doesn't make it any less lame.

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