NASCAR Faces More Richmond Issues

Joey Logano

NASCAR is looking into a report by Fox Sports 1 that Joey Logano made the Chase with help from David Gilliland's team at Richmond. (Photo: Getty Images)

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NASCAR said Wednesday that it is looking into a report aired by Fox Sports 1’s “Race Hub’’ that David Gilliland allowed Joey Logano to pass him last weekend at Richmond to ensure Logano’s spot in the Chase.

The show aired dialogue on Gilliland’s radio channel about helping Logano and the expectation that Logano’s team, Penske Racing, would return the favor in the future. Both drivers race Fords.

NASCAR issued a statement Wednesday afternoon: “NASCAR is aware of reports about the #22 and #38 radio communications at Richmond International Raceway and is looking into it, but has yet to see anything in full context that requires any action.’’

NASCAR issued a statement Thursday morning saying that it is "continuing to gather all the facts.''

“Race Hub’’ played several portions of Gilliland’s radio channel.

“Hey, (Logano’s team) is requesting that we give him the spot at the end of the race,’’ a member of Gilliland’s team says. “They say they need it just to make sure that they’re locked in, and they say they’d probably be able to help us in the future with whatever. I’m just running that by you.’’

Logano was racing Jeff Gordon for the final automatic transfer spot to the Chase. Every point mattered.

Later on Gilliland’s radio channel: “We’re going to have to let this 22 go. He’s about half a straightaway back. He’s the only position we can lose. There’s eight (laps) to go. He’s about half a straightway back.’’

Gilliland responds: “What place are we in?’’

He’s told 24th. Clint Bowyer then spins to bring out the final caution with seven laps to go. At that moment, Gordon had one-point lead on Logano for the final automatic spot.

During the caution, Gilliland says on his radio: “The only person we’re racing on our lap, to make sure I have this correct, is the 22.’’

He’s told that is correct.

“Let me know what I need to do,’’ Gilliland said.

Then another voice on the radio says: “You tell (Logano’s) spotter up there, it better be big,’’ in reference to the help.

Another team member says: “It’s not the spotter. It’s the whole committee. We’ve got the big dog and all his cronies.’’

Logano’s car is owned by Roger Penske, who typically watches races from the spotter’s stand.

A request for comment from Penske Racing had not been answered. Jerry Freeze, general manager of Front Row Motorsports, said Thursday morning that the team had no comment.

This comes two days after NASCAR penalized Michael Waltrip Racing for its actions late in that race to help Martin Truex Jr. make the Chase. NASCAR’s penalties caused Truex to fall out of the Chase and be replaced by Ryan Newman.

After Bowyer spun - which NASCAR President Mike Helton said officials could not conclusively determine if it was intentional - he then lost two laps, allowing Logano to pass him. Michael Waltrip Racing needed Logano to clinch a top-10 Chase spot so Truex could claim the final Wild Card.

NASCAR said the key evidence against Michael Waltrip Racing was a radio conversation between spotter Ty Norris and Brian Vickers. Norris ordered Vickers to pit in the final laps of the race. Vickers was confused by the order and Norris told Vickers “You’ve got to pit this time. We need that one point.’’

By pitting, Vickers gave up his spot to Logano, allowing the Penske driver to collect another point.

Logano finished with 751 points to clinch a top-10 Chase spot. Gordon had 750 points. Logano owned the tiebreaker over Gordon since Logano had a win this year and Gordon didn’t. 

Updated 9:15 a.m.

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