NASCAR announced the Hendrick Motorsports’ Jeff Gordon will be added to the Chase as the 13th car because of a possible deal between Penske Racing and Front Row Motorsports. Penske Racing asked FRM to have David Gilliland let Joey Logano pass him in the closing laps, allowing Logano to pick up an extra point in the process.
Logano beat Gordon by one point, making the Chase in 10th place. After reviewing the audio and video footage, NASCAR determined that while they couldn’t conclusively say that a deal occurred, there was a discussion of a deal, which led to them being found to have violated Section 12-1 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the NASCAR rule book.
NASCAR CEO Brian France said:
We did not conclusively determine that Penske Racing and Front Row Motorsports actually did anything in terms of on the track that we can conclusively say there was a quid pro quo or altering of the event. As Mike [Helton] said earlier, we’re looking at the radio discussions, who had those discussions, the idea of a bargain that is completely off limits in our view. But that bargain never — we don’t believe that bargain ever happened, and we don’t believe anything happened, other than the discussions about it, and that’s why the probation is — we’re sending we think an appropriate message there.
As a result, FRM and Penske have been put on probation until the end of the calendar year.
This announcement follows the unprecedented penalties NASCAR handed down to Michael Waltrip Racing for trying to alter the Chase by making Brian Vickers pit so Martin Truex Jr could pass him and gain a valuable point, as well as having Clint Bowyer spin intentionally to bring out the caution and keep Ryan Newman, who was in a battle with Truex Jr for the final Chase spot, from winning.
NASCAR will hold a mandatory meeting with teams to address the issue.