Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

NASCAR adds Jeff Gordon to Chase field amid controversy

JOLIET, Ill. — Jeff Gordon was added to the Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship on Friday when NASCAR chairman Brian France used his power to make an unprecedented expansion to the field after two separate investigations into radio chatter revealed numerous instances of race manipulation.

France determined Gordon did not have a fair chance to race his way into the 12-driver field Saturday because of the actions of at least three organizations in the closing laps at Richmond.

At that time, the four-time series champion was bumped from eligibility by Joey Logano, who unknowingly received assistance from two Michael Waltrip Racing drivers trying to aid their teammate, Martin Truex. Logano also picked up a position when David Gilliland apparently moved aside when Gilliland's team tried to bargain with Penske Racing over the radio.

"Too many things altered the event and gave an unfair disadvantage to Jeff and his team," France said. "More than anything it's just the right thing to do. There were just too many things that went on Saturday night."

NASCAR should have been celebrating Sunday's start of the Chase at Chicagoland Speedway. Instead, the sanctioning body was scrambling to uncover who did what and why since Clint Bowyer spun his car with seven laps remaining at Richmond as 10 drivers jockeyed for the five available spots in the Chase.

NASCAR disciplined MWR on Monday, then learned Wednesday of a second apparent problem involving Penske and Front Row Motorsports, which appeared to ask for a deal if Gilliland moved over for Logano.

Logano got by Gilliland, who then slowed by at least 1 mph, according to an AP review of radio communications and data.

France said NASCAR could not determine that there was a deal between Front Row and Penske, but that putting both teams on probation for the season was necessary to protect the integrity of the series.

Penske got back to work in qualifying, as Logano earned the pole for Sunday's Geico 400 with a lap of 189.414 mph around Chicagoland's 1.5-mile oval. Teammate Brad Keselowski, the defending series champion who missed this year's Chase, qualified second at 189.248 mph.

Gordon now joins Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson, the five-time champion, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne in the Chase.

"It's been a roller coaster ride of emotions this week. Unprecedented set of circumstances," Gordon said. "I'm extremely happy for this. We're proud to be in it."

Gordon is 15 points behind leader Matt Kenseth. Johnson was happy for his teammate but not thrilled to have an additional driver to race for the title.

"I believe there should be 12 cars. One in and one out should be the deal," he said.

The series investigated Penske and Front Row after the embarrassment of MWR trying to manipulate the outcome to benefit Truex. NASCAR pulled Truex out of the Chase in favor of Ryan Newman.

Truex, in his first comments since Monday, said it has been a surreal week. He drove the past two weeks with two broken bones in his wrist and a cast on his right arm. He wasn't pleased with the decision to add Gordon: "I'm not even sure what to say at this point," he said. "I'm kind of at a loss for words."

Trucks: Kyle Busch won his 34th career series race, beating Keselowski at Chicagoland in the 225 by leading the final 34 laps. It was Busch's fourth series win in eight starts this season and his 17th spanning all three NASCAR national series.

NHRA: Morgan Lucas (3.749 seconds at 324.51 mph) led the first day of Top Fuel qualifying at the Carolina Nationals in Charlotte, the first of six races in the Countdown to the Championship. Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also led their classes.

IndyCar: The Baltimore Grand Prix was scrubbed for 2014 and 2015 after organizers couldn't pin down a race date.

NASCAR adds Jeff Gordon to Chase field amid controversy 09/13/13 [Last modified: Saturday, September 14, 2013 12:25am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  2. Bucs journal: Demar Dotson (mild groin strain) expected back for opener


    TAMPA — The Bucs got good news Sunday on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI exam showed only a mild right groin sprain and who should be back at practice next week.

    Tackle Demar Dotson has only a mild groin strain.
  3. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush


    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.
  4. Rays journal: Jake Faria heads to DL with left abdominal strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jacob Faria made the trek he didn't want to take after his last start. It was to the trainer's room. The pain in his left abdominal went from nagging to an issue during his start that night in Toronto.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jacob Faria (34) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 4, 2017.
  5. Rays up next: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: Off

    Up next: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field.