After the race at Richmond International Speedway last weekend, Jeff Gordon made comments that “there was something fishy” about the spinout of Kevin Harvick’s RCR teammate, Paul Menard, with just 16 laps to go. Gordon has implied that Menard’s spinout was intentional bringing out the caution. Harvick then beat Gordon off of pit road, maintaining the lead after the final restart with 12 to go.
Gordon said from what he’s been told of the radio communications between Menard, crew chief Slugger Labbe and RCR executive Mike Dillon there is reason to believe the spinout was orchestrated on a second channel.
NASCAR released a statement Thursday stating they saw no evidence of anything out of the ordinary as far as actions that they would have to react to. However, during a media press conference with Mike Helton on Friday morning at Chicagoland Speedway, Helton stated, “In light of the suspicions, I guess, we’re going to look into it and see if there is anything. A lot of it’s going to be interpretation. But certainly I think it’s on us to understand exactly what all we can find as far as facts are concerned. I remind everybody that an incident like that is a race procedure. We have in the past reacted to cars that caused cautions during a race. So it doesn’t necessarily mean that we would find something after the fact and react to it, but it certainly would probably play a role in going forward as to our observations.”
NASCAR rules call for the analog channels to be used. Most cars have multiple analog channels that fans in the grandstand, NASCAR (located in the tower), and the industry listen to. All radio communications between crew chiefs, spotters and the driver are analog.
In light of the accusations, Richard Childress Racing released a statement regarding this ongoing issue:
“There were no team orders despite all the speculation in the media. I know Paul Menard well enough that he wouldn’t have spun out on purpose even if he had been asked. We are at Chicagoland Speedway to win the race and get a great start toward the championship.”
NASCAR officials said on Saturday there is no evidence to support allegations that Paul Menard spun out intentionally to bring out a caution and affect the finish of last weekend’s Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway. Spokesman Kerry Tharp said officials listened to audio of Menard’s radio transmission before he spun out with 16 laps remaining and found nothing to indicate he did anything deliberately