The Frontstretch: Penske Racing Allegedly Struck a Deal with Front Row Motorsports in Richmond by Summer Bedgood -- Wednesday September 11, 2013

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The Associated Press is reporting that suspicious radio chatter that occurred last Saturday night from the No. 38 car driven by David Gilliland may suggest that Penske Racing struck a deal with the team to allow Joey Logano one more position on the racetrack. Logano was racing for a spot in the Chase and, having struggled all night, was in danger of missing the 12 car field.

The AP reports that Gilliland’s spotter radioed to the crew that the No. 22 team of Logano wanted Gilliland’s spot on the track and apparently said, “they’d probably be able to help us in the future.”

What appears to be Frank Kerr, the crew of the No. 38 car, replies with, “You tell that spotter up there it better pay big.”

The spotter then replied, “Yeah, it’s not the spotter, it’s the whole committee.”

Kerry: “The committee knows what I’ve been asking for.”

Spotter: “We’ve got the big dog (a reference to what is believed to be Roger Penske) and all his cronies.”

Kerr: “Travis (Geisler? Penske Racing competition director) knows what I’ve been asking for.”

Logano did eventually pass Gilliland on a restart and eventually finished 22nd.

There is no radio chatter on Logano’s channel that mentions Front Row Motorsports, other than when Logano was told who he was racing for position. The AP says information they obtained shows that Gilliland slowed down by almost a second after Logano passed him.

After Logano had made the pass, the No. 38 spotter radioed to Gilliland, ““Good job, good job, man. Hopefully we’ll get something out of that.”

The report comes only a few days after NASCAR heavily penalized Michael Waltrip Racing for also attempting to manipulate the outcome of the race. Clint Bowyer is thought to have intentionally spun out towards the end of the race while Ryan Newman was leading, because a win by Newman would have meant Truex would have been out of the Chase. Similarly, Truex and Bowyer’s teammate, Brian Vickers, was asked to come to pit road because Ty Norris radioed to Vickers, “We need that one point.”

The penalties issued by NASCAR wound up knocking Martin Truex Jr. out of the Chase and replacing him with Ryan Newman.

In response to the Penske Racing allegations, NASCAR issued a statement saying: “NASCAR is aware of reports about the #22 and #38 radio communications at Richmond International Raceway and is looking into it, but has yet to see anything in full context that requires any action.”

The Chase starts this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway.

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