Waltrip: 'We're Not Immoral'

Michael Waltrip

Michael Waltrip said of his team: "We're not immoral. We're not irresponsible.'' (Photo: Getty Images)

Car owner Michael Waltrip said that there was no plan to ensure that Martin Truex Jr. made the Chase last weekend at Richmond, but admits he might have made some similar decisions.

Waltrip spoke Tuesday to "Race Hub" on FOX Sports 1, which also employs him.  His interview came a day after NASCAR’s penalties knocked Truex out of the Chase, allowing Ryan Newman to make it in.  NASCAR penalized each of MWR’s teams for a series of actions late in the race.  It started with Clint Bowyer spinning and purposely losing two laps.  It continued with Ty Norris, the team’s general manager, ordering Brian Vickers to pit to give up positions.

Pitting Bowyer and Vickers helped Joey Logano pass both and gain enough points to clinch a top-10 spot in the Chase.  That helped Truex clinch a Wild Card spot.  Truex beat Newman on a tiebreaker for the final Wild Card.

Waltrip defended his organization Tuesday in the "Race Hub" interview.

"We’re not immoral, we’re not irresponsible," he said.  "The decisions were made just based on circumstances.  As we look back, obviously, we would have been smarter and done things differently had we had that option.

"What the penalties were for (was Vickers) coming down pit road to give up a spot that enabled (Truex) to make the Chase.  It was impossible to defend because we did it.  The caution was out and Ty was looking at the numbers and it’s like, 'Pit, pit ... we need that position,' so we pitted.

"I don’t know if I would have done it any differently.  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."

NASCAR President Mike Helton said Monday that Michael Waltrip Racing was being penalized for the "preponderance of things that happened" in the final laps at Richmond.  Helton and series officials met with Waltrip and Norris before determining the penalties, which included an indefinite suspension for Norris and a $300,000 fine to MWR.

"We learned," Waltrip said.  "We’re a young organization.  As things developed, we understood where we stood and we knew that we needed that point.  We didn’t have this complex plan about how we were going to manipulate the race to get Martin in."

Asked if Bowyer intentionally spun - Bowyer has repeatedly denied that, Waltrip defended his driver.

"You saw the video, you heard the audio," Waltrip told FOX Sports 1.  "I stand by my driver."

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