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In an unprecedented announcement Friday afternoon from Chicagoland Speedway, NASCAR added a 13th driver to this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup in Jeff Gordon. After nearly a week of investigations into the events that transpired at Richmond, including audio on Front Row Motorsports’ radio, the sanctioning body felt the best decision was the add Gordon to the field.
“I have the authority to do that and we are going to do that,” NASCAR Chairman Brian France said in an afternoon press conference. “It is an unprecedented and extraordinary thing, but it is also an unprecedented and extraordinary set of circumstances.”
Not long after the announcement, Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick made a statement about the decision.
“I applaud NASCAR for taking the time for a full review. What occurred at Richmond was not of their making, and they’ve had to wrestle with some very difficult decisions throughout the week,” Hendrick said. “I know everything done by NASCAR has been a sincere effort to be fair and ultimately do what’s best for our sport and our fans.
“We’re extremely proud to have all four cars in the Chase for the second consecutive season. Jeff (Gordon) and the No. 24 team earned this spot, and we’re going to leave everything on the racetrack during these last 10 (races). The support this week from our fans and partners has been incredible, and I’m proud of everyone at Hendrick Motorsports for the effort that’s gotten us here. The Chase is going to be exciting.”
In addition to adding Gordon to the Chase, NASCAR also placed Front Row Motorsports and Penske Racing on probation through the end of the season for “actions detrimental.” France stated the reason there were no points penalties is that there wasn’t conclusive evidence that their actions had a direct impact on the Chase seedings.
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