NASCAR is looking into accusations that Paul Menard deliberately brought out a caution in last weekend’s Sprint Cup race at Richmond , to screw with the outcome.
This comes after Jeff Gordon thought there was something “fishy” about the spinout that allowed Menard’s teammate, Kevin Harvick to win his 4th of the season.
“In light of the suspicions, we’re going to look into it and see if there is anything,” NASCAR president Mike Helton said Friday at Chicagoland. “And a lot of it is going to be interpretation. Certainly, it is on us to understand exactly what all we can find as far as facts are concerned.”
Helton said he has not heard the audio in which Menard allegedly asks crew chief Slugger Labbe and Richard Childress Racing executive Mike Dillon whether he should spin intentionally to cause a caution that would allow Harvick to close up on Gordon, setting up the pass for the win.
Helton said there was nothing during the officiating of the race that brought suspicion.
But if you think they’ll bring out the hangman if they discover a “fixed” finish, think again!
Helton adds things like this are considered race procedure and it’s unlikely punishment would result.
“I’m not saying we can’t,” Helton said. “We can. But a guy causing a caution during an event is a race procedure. It’s like balls and strikes. You don’t go back on Monday and change an out call or foul ball call. It doesn’t say we can’t. If we see something that falls under the broader actions detrimental (to NASCAR) or something, it doesn’t mean we can’t. But more than likely it is going to be considered a race procedure. And race procedures, Helton noted, “are unappealable and unchangeable.”
“The biggest thing is to make sure we get the facts right and police the environment moving forward,” Helton said. “We joke about there not being gentleman’s agreements anymore in our sport, but I do feel there is a code of ethics among drivers that is alive and well. “I’m not necessarily overwhelmed by the chatter so far.”
So why even bother announcing they’ll look into something illegal if they’re not going to issue penalties if the parties are found guilty?
Seems a little weak to me!
Thanks to ESPN for the quotes.