NASCAR investigating Gordon’s accusations Menard’s spin at Richmond was intentional

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.”

Stay tuned.

UPDATE 9/17

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

Wreckfest at Richmond berths Stewart, Junior and Hamlin in the Chase

(Back row L-R) Tony Stewart, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon (front row L-R) Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin pose after clinching spots in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday. Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Harvick won his fourth race of the season and the 18th of his career as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin secured the final Chase spots they held provisionally entering the race—but not without considerable anxiety.

It was Harvick’s pit crew that won the race. Harvick beat Jeff Gordon out of the pits after a stop under caution on Lap 385 of 400 and drove away from the four-time champion. Carl Edwards passed Gordon for the second spot and challenged Harvick for the win, but Edwards ran out of time, finishing .139 seconds back.

With four victories each, Harvick and Kyle Busch are the top seeds for this year’s Chase.

This race had everything, far beyond the dash to the finish. It had a heroic effort from Hamlin, who recovered from a hard hit on Lap 8 to secure a spot in the Chase for the sixth straight year.

At times during the race, it wasn’t a pretty sight and had it surely had suspense as Earnhardt’s Chevrolet sustained damaged in that Lap 8 wreck and Earnhardt, Jr. fought hard to hang on to a position in the top 10 in the standings while obtaining three Lucky Dog Free passes.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. jokes with his No. 88 crew about the state of his Chevrolet Impala after clinching the 10th spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on Saturday at Richmond International Raceway. Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

In addition to Harvick and Kyle Busch, seven other drivers went into Saturday’s race locked into the Chase: Johnson, Edwards, Gordon, Newman, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski.

The 10-race Chase begins Sept. 18 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.

NASCAR, Richmond International Speedway, broadcasters plan three-lap moment of silence for 9/11 Tribute

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11, NASCAR announced a special in-race tribute to take place on Saturday, Sept. 10 during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway. Fans attending the event, ABC-TV and MRN Radio broadcasters announcing the race, and the track announcer will all go quiet for a three-lap moment of silence from laps 9 through 11 at the .75-mile oval.

The three-lap moment of silence, in which all fans attending the race will also wave American flags, is the culmination of many 9/11 tributes and patriotic activities being planned by NASCAR race tracks, teams, sponsors, licensees, drivers, and fans in special recognition of the anniversary.

ABC’s broadcast of the Richmond race will also feature a NASCAR Foundation public service announcement (PSA) television spot that encourages NASCAR fans to pay tribute by pledging to perform good deeds, support charitable causes, and volunteer in honor of the 9/11 victims, survivors and those who served in response to the attacks. The NASCAR Unites-branded, 30-second PSA has been airing on ABC and ESPN race broadcasts, as well as on SPEED, since August 27.

Jimmie Johnson is wearing the Samsung Helmet of Hope during the Pepsi Max 400 at Auto Club Speedway (Fontana, CA - October 10, 2010) which he will be wearing at Richmond International SPeedway, Sept. 10th. Photo courtesy of the Jimmie Johnson Foundation

The NASCAR Unites PSA is an extension of The NASCAR Foundation’s support for the national “I Will, Join the 9/11 Tribute Movement” campaign organized by MyGoodDeed and the HandsOn Network, which seeks to create the single largest day of charitable service in observance of the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance (911day.org). MyGoodDeed’s campaign features relatives of 9/11 victims and survivors of the attacks, along with celebrities, sharing a special 9/11 memory or tribute. Appearing in a campaign spot as a representative of NASCAR is five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, who will wear a Helmet of Hope in Saturday’s race to raise awareness for children and families in need.

Johnson also appears in the NASCAR Unites PSA spot, entitled “I will. Will you?” along with fellow NASCAR drivers Tony Stewart and Brian Vickers, team owner Richard Childress, Richmond International Raceway President Dennis Bickmeier, NASCAR officials, team crew members, track safety firemen and NASCAR fans. In the spot, viewers are directed to visit NASCAR.COM/Unites to submit their own 9/11 video tribute, send a postcard to a first responder and register for volunteer opportunities in observance of the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance.