CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — His reputation has been battered, his team blasted by NASCAR for manipulating the outcome of a pivotal race. Now Clint Bowyer will do his best to pick up the pieces and try to salvage his season.
“No rearview mirrors in life, just windshield ahead. It’s been a great year and is going to be a great chase. Time to move on!!!” Bowyer posted on Twitter late Monday night.
It was his first public comment since NASCAR launched an investigation into his Saturday night spin at Richmond and ultimately uncovered a series of deliberate actions by Michael Waltrip Racing to alter the race results and the field for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. The sordid saga concluded Monday with a hefty penalty that saw Ryan Newman replace Martin Truex Jr. in the Chase as MWR was fined $300,000, and general manager Ty Norris received an indefinite suspension.
Truex, Bowyer and Brian Vickers were docked 50 points apiece — but Bowyer’s deduction does not affect his position in the Chase, which begins Sunday at Chicago.
“We penalize to ask for it to not happen again,” NASCAR President Mike Helton said. “It’s a message from the league or the sanctioning body saying ‘You can’t do this.’”
Newman was leading with seven laps remaining Saturday night at Richmond, where a victory would have given him the final spot in the 12-driver Chase field. But Bowyer spun to bring out a caution, setting in motion a chain of events that ultimately led to Newman losing the race and the Chase berth, which instead went to Bowyer teammate Truex.
While examining the situation, NASCAR reviewed communication between Bowyer and his Michael Waltrip Racing crew that seemed to indicate the spin was deliberate, as well as additional evidence that suggested MWR had Bowyer and Vickers take a dive over the final three laps so Joey Logano would knock Jeff Gordon out of Chase contention in yet another attempt to help Truex.