Jeff Gordon says he is really steamed over the events that knocked him out of Sprint Cup's Chase for the Championship and triggered a NASCAR investigation.
"When I found out later how they manipulated it, that was anger on a whole 'nother level," Gordon told USA Today at a charity event in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday. "It's hard to describe, and it's disappointing. You realize people all want to do things for their teammates to help them, but you also know there are certain lines that have to be drawn."
Ryan Newman was on his way to a win Saturday at Richmond International Raceway that would have given him the final spot in the 12-driver Chase field when Clint Bowyer spun, bringing out a caution. That set in motion a chain of events that cost Newman the win and a Chase berth. It also cost Gordon a Chase berth and put Martin Truex and Joey Logano in the final two Chase spots.
Gordon appeared likely to get a spot with his finish when Bowyer, of Michael Waltrip Racing, spun with seven laps left. Then over the last laps, Bowyer and teammate Brian Vickers let Penske Racing's Logano pass them by taking unneeded pit stops. That led Logano to edge Gordon by one point for the last Chase spot.
NASCAR on Monday fined Waltrip Racing $300,000 and took Truex out of the Chase and put Newman in. Because Bowyer was unpunished, Gordon said he thought the penalty "was half-right."
Then the Associated Press reported Wednesday that NASCAR was listening to radio communications for more evidence that the outcome was manipulated, with Logano and his team a focus. NASCAR said Thursday that it was considering whether to punish Logano. "All I can say is I feel like our team deserves to be in (the Chase) based on everything that went on Saturday night," Gordon told Fox Sports.