NASCAR Reacts to Manipulation

NASCAR

NASCAR CEO Brian France, President Mike Helton and Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton addressed the media assembled at Chicagoland Speedway after an earlier meeting with team owners, drivers, crew chiefs and other personnel. (Photo: Getty Images)

Press Conference Audio

JOLIET, Il. – NASCAR announced a number of new policies and guidelines in the wake of last week’s incidents at Richmond International Raceway.

NASCAR CEO Brian France, President Mike Helton and Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton addressed the media assembled at Chicagoland Speedway after an earlier meeting with team owners, drivers, crew chiefs and other personnel.

The core of the direction going forward was explained as follows: “The revisions focus on assisting the competitors to understand what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in NASCAR’s sole determination when it comes to officiating teams’ racing during an event.”

While the specifics of how these revisions will be enforced were not detailed, there were new rules regarding accepted behavior on the spotter stand announced in the aftermath of radio communication between Michael Waltrip Racing teammates as well as Front Row Motorsports and Penske Racing last week in Richmond.

The new rules take effect beginning with Sunday’s Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway:

-- Spotters only on spotters’ stand (one per team)

--Spotters’ stand limits: Two analog radios, scanners, Fan Views

-- Video camera will be installed on spotters’ stand

France addressed what was discussed in the day’s earlier team meeting and emphasized the importance of drivers giving their full effort on the racetrack.

“We addressed team rules, and as I said, a variety of other things, all designed to do what our fans expect, and that means that they're driver and their team give 100 percent to finish as high up in a given race as possible,” said France.

“We were very clear about that. That's our expectations. It's an evolving issue in some ways because of historical things that have happened in the past and the subjectivity that may or may not be part of individual calls going forward.”

Helton explained those expectations resulted in NASCAR adding a specific rule to its rulebook, which reads:

"NASCAR requires its competitors to race at 100 percent of their ability with the goal of achieving their best possible finishing position in an event. Any competitor who takes action with the intent to artificially alter the finishing positions of the event or encourages, persuades or induces others to artificially alter the finishing position of the event shall be subject to a penalty from NASCAR. Such penalties may include but are limited to disqualification and/or loss of finishing points and/or fines and/or loss of points and/or suspension and/or probation to any and all members of the teams, including any beneficiaries of the prohibited actions.

'Artificially altered' shall be defined as actions by any competitor that show or suggest that the competitor did not race at 100 percent of their ability for the purpose of changing finishing positions in the event at NASCAR's sole discretion."

Since last week’s Richmond incidents and NASCAR’s reaction to the manipulation the sport has been the centerpiece of a great deal of criticism and skepticism. National media outlets including “NBC Nightly News” have questioned the legitimacy and credibility of the sport.

“I think it's the totality of all the different things that went on, either that were inconclusive or suspicious or whatever it might be,” France said in what helped drive the sanctioning body to react. “It was unhelpful, and my hope is that we'll have greater, greater clarity, and we'll have that line as bright as possible because we're about delivering for our fans what they expect, and that's the best racing.”

While recognizing the sport has taken a hit in recent days, France is hopeful the actions announced Saturday will help repair things moving forward.

“Well, it's like anything else; circumstances happen that are unhelpful in the credibility category, there's no doubt about that,” said France. “And you go back to what you're about, and what we're about is the best racing in the world with the best drivers giving 100 percent of their ability, and to the extent that we get off of that for any reason, then it's our job to have the rules of the road and the rules of the race such that it achieves that every day. And if it's not this, it might be something else.

“You deal with it. We have dealt with it as best that we can, and we move on.”

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup

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