Michael Waltrip, c0-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing spoke out on FOXSports 1 RaceHub where he was interviewed by reporters after NASCAR handed down the biggest penalty in NASCAR history.
Waltrip said there was no “master plan” going into Richmond to influence Martin Truex Jr. getting into the Chase for the Sprint Cup. (Video Link)
“We didn’t go into that race with a plan of helping Martin get into the Chase,” Waltrip said. “Now — we certainly, as things developed, understood where we stood and we knew that we needed that point.”
NASCAR reviewed Saturday night’s race at Richmond International Raceway, and fined MWR $300,000 for their play in altering the outcome of the race. MWR was found to have violated Section 12-4 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing). Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition said, “As the sport’s sanctioning body, it is our responsibility to ensure there is a fair and level playing field for all of our competitors and this action today reflects our commitment to that.”
MWR general manager Ty Norris was indefinitely suspended for telling Brian Vickers to pit so he could change positions on the track that would enable Truex Jr. to secure the second Wild Card spot in the Chase.
Martin Truex Jr. was fined 50 points, which knocked him out of the Chase and into 17th in the point standings. Ryan Newman was awarded the second Wild Card spot in replace of Truex Jr.
Waltrip defended Norris’s actions, citing that if he was in the same position – he would of done the same thing.
“I don’t know if I would have done it any differently,” Waltrip said. “I’m afraid that I wouldn’t of. Because we’ve seen people give up positions all the time in this sport to give a teammate a point. It happens. We’ve seen the leader pull over so another guy can lead. I would have screwed that one up, too.”
There was also controversy surrounding the No. 15 of Clint Bowyer, that he deliberately spun his car to help his teammate secure a Chase spot. Bowyer was fined 50 points and apologized but still says that the spin was due to a deflating tire.
WATCH: Bowyer’s spin at Richmond
“You saw the video, you heard the audio,” Waltrip said. “I stand behind my driver. NASCAR looked at the situation and they didn’t think (Bowyer) spun on purpose. I have no reason to believe that’s the case.”
NASCAR said evidence was not clear to say if Bowyer’s spin was intentional or not.