The Frontstretch: 13 Teams In The Chase: How Did That Happen, Exactly? by S.D. Grady -- Friday September 13, 2013

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13 Teams In The Chase: How Did That Happen, Exactly?

S.D. Grady · Friday September 13, 2013


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Happy Saturday! There are 13 teams in the Chase for the Sprint Cup! Yay…?

Friday afternoon I sat and pondered the possible outcomes to NASCAR’s further investigation into radio transmissions during last Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400. The possibilities were:

1.) They would do nothing. This was the most likely option.

2.) They would dock the No. 22 and No. 38 teams 50 points apiece and hand down some amorphous probations which would put Gordon back in the Chase and Logano out. That choice sort of made sense if France & Co. wanted to remain consistent with the MWR fines. Sort of.

3.) Just put Gordon in for no good reason… nah, that wouldn’t happen. Helton repeatedly stated on Monday night when he handed down the MWR fines NASCAR wasn’t “going to fix the ripples.”

I guess they deemed Gordon’s exclusion from the Chase a tidal wave.

It’s a move that surprised Jeff Gordon, so much he’s still trying to figure it out. So are we. But the words from NASCAR’s CEO, Brian France are crystal clear: Mr. Gordon, excluded on Saturday has been allowed in the Chase this Friday because “France wanted him there.”

How did Brian France justify the addition of the No. 24 to the Chase field?

“I have the authority to do that.”

Well, blow me down. Any attempt at trying to work my way through the logistics of this decision has left me speechless. I can just imagine parents across America explaining the whole debacle to their children.

“There are 13 teams in the Chase.”

“But I thought there were only 12.”

“Well, there were. But somebody tried to cheat.”

“Who cheated?”

“Ummm… Penske Racing and Front Row Motorsports.”

“Who’s that?”

“Those are teams.”

“Not people?”

“No. They couldn’t punish the people because they couldn’t find anybody doing anything really wrong. But they still thought that Jeff Gordon suffered…”

“Suffered from what?”

“From what the people might have been doing.”

“What was that?”

“I can’t say. But it was bad.”

“Oh.” Long silence. “But what about Martin Truex, Jr.? Is he going to be in the Chase?”

“No. He was kicked out because some other people did something wrong.”

“Like what?”

“They pitted at the end of the race.”

“But didn’t everybody pit at the end of Richmond when there was that caution with the No. 15?”

“Well, yes. But they wouldn’t have if Bowyer didn’t spin. So that was bad… I think.”

“Why was it bad?”

“Because it was what the No. 15 was thinking when they spun. They wanted to ruin everybody’s day and help Truex.”

Another long silence. “So… why wasn’t Bowyer punished? Why is Truex in timeout instead?”


“Who did they punish?”

“Brian Vickers’ spotter.”


“Because he wanted to help Truex, too. But when he did that, some others suffered… like Jeff Gordon.”

“Oh.” Lots more silence. “So, if I try to help my friends, I can get in trouble?”

Oh, boy.

“There are 13 teams in the Chase, kiddo.”

“Uh, okay. But I still don’t understand why.”

Neither do I… neither do I. Do you?

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09/13/2013 11:51 PM

NA$CAR might as well give Danica the ROTY award and the title. I am sure those clowns at NA$CAR will figure out a way.

Carl D.
09/14/2013 06:02 AM

Mike… Gee thanks. By the end of today Brian France will probably have added Danica Patrick to the chase. He has the authority to do that.

09/14/2013 06:03 AM

First, Mike, Danica already has the ROTY trophy! She had her name on it before this season even started.

Second, I wonder when Brian and Rick had their secret meeting, and I wonder how much money was in that envelope Rick gave him. He (Hendrick) has been known to give cars, houses, and money to auto executives to get what he wants, so why not solidify his secret ownership of NASCAR by supplying Brian with cars and maybe even a house in the Carolinas.

It will be interesting to see all the empty seats at Daytona in February. And I wonder when we will hear about Fontana, Chicagoland, and Kansas going into receivership by the end of 2014!

Farewell, NASCAR, it was nice to have known you, and may you rest in peace!

09/14/2013 07:54 AM

And Carl. D., the green flag hasn’t flown yet at Chicagoland. Right now, nothing would surprize me if at that meeting scheduled for this morning if Brian France came out and said, “In order for our sport to survive, and in order for me to keep my bank account well padded, I hereby announce that Danica Patrick has been added to the Chase for 2013”.

Is it true there hasn’t been a single ticket sold yet for the 2014 Daytona 500? I wonder why!

09/14/2013 08:08 AM

The only good that could come out of this is if it was the excuse for getting rid of the ridiculous ‘chase’ scenario! It was a bad idea to begin with, and this way Brian ‘The Brain’ France can dump the whole things without having to admit is was a hare-brained idea to begin with.

Sue Rarick
09/14/2013 09:41 AM

The reason for adding Gordon is simple – He’s popular and outside of Hamlin the biggest crybaby driver. Brian France probably got tired of being woke up by a crying Gordon at 3am every night.

09/14/2013 10:12 AM

Denny is the third biggest crybaby in the world. The second biggest is Johnson with all the whining he has been doing this year.

Jeff is still number one though!

09/14/2013 05:09 PM

Knew as soon I as it was announced that this would be the response.Don’t worry Gordon’s not going to do anything with the opportunity anyway. The 48 team is going to be hoisting that big trophy .Oh and maybe some folks on here should be put on the crybaby list.

09/14/2013 08:48 PM

Dan, how long have you been a fan of NASCAR? Me? I have watched since 1961, and have attended about 50 races. When Bill Senior seized power in 1948, and Bill Junior took over in 1972 and ran the show, it was nowhere near as contrived as it is now. The downfall started when Brian took over and escalated after Bill Junior died. Yes, there was favoritism along the way, but nothing like the favoritism you see now. Bill Senior and Bill Junior knew the drivers and owners, and more importantly, knew the fans. They were at every race right up until they died. Brian France is never at a race unless it is to make one of his famous speeches that make no sense, and he knows nothing about the fans and is way too cushy with one particular car owner.

You are obviously a Hendrick fan, and that is OK. Me, I read a book that opened my eyes to the kind of ruthless man Mr. Hendrick is and what he will do to get what he wants. And he wants to fully crush all competition and own NASCAR. He has the money and he knows how to use that money. So, if we don’t like what is happening thus making us crybabies, maybe it is because we actually cared about this sport and we hate what it has become. So, since you apparently are OK with all the garbage that has happened, and having one team get everything they want, you and your fellow Hendrick, Gordon, and Johnson fans can have it. The stands are empty, so you will have plenty of room to spread out and be comfortable on a race afternoon.

09/14/2013 10:08 PM

There is that dangereous word again “Cheat”. How did Penske cheat? Mike Helton said teams have been doing it for a long time and accepted practice. If there was something in the rulebook it would have been stated real clearly so everybody knows what infraction was had. They did not, and also said they couldn’t prove anything. You have watched and heard on TV for years look at so and so teams are making deals. HOW IS THIS NOW SUDDENLY WRONG;BECAUSE A HMS DRIVER DID NOT BENEFIT? That word is a bad word, your team may be on the whim of HMS not liking what you just did and next thing you know a witch hunt will happen to your driver and presto your team will be branded cheaters. I call this the Jeff Gordon rule. How is Nascar now going to police something that wasn’t wrong before Jeff got his feelings hurt? One can sit and site 1000 times when strategy of this nature has happened. Should be interesting to see how the races evolve. Penske didn’t do jack sheet, it Nascar who are the cheaters..ahem I mean HMSCAR.

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