NASCAR In Joliet: Some air-clearing for Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer
By Tina Akouris firstname.lastname@example.org September 12, 2013 9:30PM
NASCAR driver Ryan Newman (left) and Clint Bowyer. | AP file photo
Where: Chicagoland Speedway, Laraway Road and Route 53, Joliet
When: Friday through Sunday
Tickets: Call (888) 629-7223.
Parking: Free. Lots open at 7 a.m. Friday and Saturday; early bird parking at 6 a.m. Sunday.
EnjoyIllinois.com 225 (Camping World Truck Series) practice, 9 to 10:30 a.m.
EnjoyIllinois.com 225 final practice, 11 to 11:50 a.m.
GEICO 400 (Sprint Cup Series) practice, noon to 1:30 p.m.
Dollar General 300 (Nationwide Series) practice, 1:40 to 2:55 p.m.
EnjoyIllinois.com 225 qualifying, 3:05 p.m.
GEICO 400 qualifying, 4:10 p.m.(ESPN2)
Dollar General 300 final practice, 5:35 to 6:50 p.m.
EnjoyIllinois.com 225, 7:30 p.m. (Fox Sports1)
GEICO 400 practice, 10 to 10:55 a.m.
Dollar General 300 qualifying, 11:05 a.m. (Fox Sports2)
GEICO 400 final practice, 1 to 1:50 p.m. (Fox Sports2)
Dollar General 300, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Brantley Gilbert pre-race concert, 11:10 a.m.
GEICO 400 driver introductions, 12:20 p.m.
GEICO 400, 1 p.m. (ESPN; WERV-FM 95.9; WCCQ-FM 98.3)
Updated: October 15, 2013 7:09AM
All Ryan Newman wanted to hear this week from Clint Bowyer was one thing.
“He said, ‘Man, I’m happy that you’re in (the Chase),’ ” Newman said Thursday at Navy Pier. “That’s what I needed to hear.”
Newman and Bowyer are at the center of a controversy that’s eclipsing Sunday’s GEICO 400, NASCAR’s first race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet.
NASCAR penalized Bowyer and his Michael Waltrip Racing team on Monday, ruling that Bowyer and MWR influenced the outcome of last Saturday’s race at Richmond (Va.).
MWR was fined $300,000, the highest in NASCAR history, and Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr. and Brian Vickers all were docked 50 points.
Truex made the Chase after Richmond as a wild card, but the points penalty ended up knocking Truex out of the Chase and put Newman in Truex’s place. Bowyer is in eighth place in the points standings.
“Monday evening before (the news came out), I got a phone call from Concord (N.C.) that I figured I’d better answer,” Newman said. “They told me the brief summary of the outcome and that was enough for me. I’m just glad that for the integrity of our sport, a decision was made.”
Perhaps the worst part about all this is that Newman is good friends with both Bowyer and Truex.
“To see (Truex) be the byproduct of what happened is tough,” Newman said. “I know kind of how he felt and that, as a friend and somebody whose friendship I truly value, that’s tough. That’s the bittersweet part of it.
“I think (Truex) was the one who was penalized the most in this situation. I believe that he didn’t know what his organization was doing before, during or after.”
Where Newman was more philosophical about the MWR incident, Bowyer just wanted to put everything behind him and move on as soon as possible.
Bowyer said he did at least seven hours worth of interviews Tuesday, the day after the penalties were handed down, and was done talking about the situation.
“The one thing I can tell you is I’m tired of talking about it,” Bowyer said. “I’ve had a rough couple of days, probably rougher than I’ve ever had.”
NASCAR also is investigating whether Joey Logano’s No. 22 Penske Racing team had a similar deal with Front Row Motorsports and the No. 38 car driven by David Gilliland.
Logano denied having any knowledge of collusion between the two teams, and said he didn’t hear about the investigation until he landed Wednesday in New Hampshire for a personal appearance.
Other Chase drivers also weighed in, most notable Dale Earnhardt Jr. who has had a professional relationship with Michael Waltrip for most of his career. The two were teammates in 2001 on DEI Racing when Waltrip won the Daytona 500. That was the same race in which Dale Earnhardt Sr. was killed.
“I think they got off pretty easy, especially Clint,” Earnhardt said. “He’s relatively unaffected (in the standings).”