Penske Racing may have cut a deal with Front Row Motorsports during the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway to allow Joey Logano to pass FRM’s David Gilliland in the closing laps of the race so Logano could earn an extra point, according to the Associated Press.
Gilliland’s spotter tells that team that someone has requested that they let Logano pass. A voice on the radio, most likely Frank Kerr, asks who made the request, to which the spotter replies:
We’ve got the big dog and all his cronies.
Kerr then says:
Travis knows what I’ve been asking for.
Speculation indicates that Kerr was referring to Travis Giesler, competition director at Penske.
Logano later passed Gilliland on the restart and finished in 22nd.
After the race, Gilliland’s spotter said:
Good job, good job, man. Hopefully we’ll get something out of that.
Statistics appear to show the Gilliland’s lap times dropped by almost a full second after that radio communication, indicating that he was slowing to let Logano pass.
Logano made the Chase by one point — presumably the point he earned by passing Gilliland. Logano had 751 points to Jeff Gordon’s 750 points.
If this is true, NASCAR could levy similar penatlies to those imposed on Michael Waltrip Racing because this changed the outcome of the Chase, just as MWR’s actions did.
Right now, NASCAR is gathering facts and evidence to determine whether action needs to be taken.