By: Kyle Brandt – Senior Writer (@KyleJBrandt)
November 12, 2012
DAYTONA BEACH, FL— As a result of Sunday’s wild ending to the AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway that included a blatant act of retaliation from Jeff Gordon on Clint Bowyer and their pit crews being involved in a pit road brawl, NASCAR has issued penalties to Jeff Gordon, Brian Pattie and Brad Keselowski.
NASCAR announced today penalties to three teams that compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as a result of rule infractions at Phoenix International Raceway.
Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 car, was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) – altercation with another competitor on the race track during the race – and has been fined $100,000, docked 25 championship driver points and put on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. Rick Hendrick, owner of the No. 24 car, has also been penalized with the loss of 25 championship owner points. Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 24 car, also was found to be in violation of Section 9-4A (at all events, crew chief assumes responsibility of his driver, car owner and team members) and has been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.
Brian Pattie, crew chief of the No. 15 car, violated Sections 12-1 and 9-4A and has been fined $25,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.
Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 car, has been fined $25,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31 for violating Sections 12-1 and 20-6.7A (cars and drivers will not be permitted to carry onboard computers, automated electronic recording devices, electronically actuated devices, power distribution modules, power conditioners, micro-processors, recording devices, electronic digital memory chips, traction control devices, digital readout gauges and the like, even if inoperable or incomplete) – driver had a cell phone in his possession onboard the race car.
All of these violations occurred during the Nov. 11 event at PIR.
Shortly after NASCAR announced their penalties on Monday night, Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s Vice President of Competition released a statement to further explain the sanctions handed down.
“Following a thorough analysis of the actions that took place during Sunday’s race at Phoenix International Raceway, we have issued penalties based upon our review. The decisions announced today cover NASCAR’s full assessment of penalties for the incidents that occurred.
“There’s no doubt that a unique set of circumstances combined with a championship battle on the line resulted in raw emotions coming into play. We consider the penalties appropriate and those involved understand our decision and we expect them to abide by them.”
Also, in reaction to Monday’s penalties, Hendrick Motorsports released the following statement:
Hendrick Motorsports will not appeal sanctions announced today by NASCAR regarding the No. 24 Sprint Cup Series team and driver Jeff Gordon.
“I’ve always respected Jeff for standing his ground,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “We also respect that NASCAR needs to police the sport and send a message when situations like this occur. It’s been a great year, and we’re going to put our focus on finishing in a positive way this weekend.”
“I take responsibility for my actions on the racetrack,” Gordon said. “I accept NASCAR’s decision and look forward to ending the season on a high note at Homestead.”
NASCAR’s decision to penalize to Jeff Gordon after Sunday’s dust-up didn’t surprise a majority of fans and members of the industry- and most deemed his actions to be uncharacteristic of the four-time series champion who is one of the most popular drivers in the sport; however, Brad Keselowski’s penalty for using his cell phone to tweet during the fifteen-minute red flag is.
Keselowski, who NASCAR has been embraced as the sport’s ambassador of their growing social media campaign made headlines during the season-opening Daytona 500 when he tweeted a picture of the massive jet dryer fire during a red flag- gaining hundreds of thousands of followers and gaining the sport priceless exposure at a time when it was extremely needed.