Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Updated: Gibbs Penalties Out, "NASCAR Now" At 5PM On ESPN2

The news is out and it certainly is not good for Joe Gibbs Racing. Gone are crew chiefs Jason Ratcliff and Dave Rogers probably for the rest of the season. NASCAR likes to refer to these suspensions as "indefinite."

Drivers Joey Logano and Tony Stewart each lose 150 Nationwide Series points and both of the suspended crew chiefs are also going to be contributing 50 thousand dollars to the NASCAR Charity Fund. That is where the penalty money goes. In addition, JGR loses 150 championship owner points.

In a surprising twist that will probably be detailed later, five Gibbs crew members were also suspended indefinitely. Perhaps, those are the five that had access to the cars after the race and before the dyno test. That is pure speculation that will hopefully be updated by Ryan Burr and the NASCAR Now gang on ESPN2 at 5PM.

It would be important for Burr to clear-up any allegations made by ESPN's on-air announcers that either Logano or Stewart were responsible for placing the washers/magnets in those cars. That was the initial response, mainly because the normal procedure is for NASCAR Inspectors to prohibit any team members access to the cars being tested after the race. This will be a key element of the overall story. Were the drivers involved?

Update #1: The team members suspended were the car chiefs and engine tuners for each team, along with one crew member from the #18 car. Both Stewart and Logano are on probation until the end of the season, but the NASCAR press release says nothing about the involvement of the drivers.

Update #2: From Joe Gibbs - "We are, however, disappointed that NASCAR chose to place our drivers on probation, as they had no knowledge or involvement of this incident." That should help with the driver issue.

Update #3: "My name was used specifically in the incident," said Tony Stewart about the ESPN TV commentary. Nationwide Series Director Joe Balash was the one who told Stewart his name was used on TV. That means everyone is aware of this angle on the story.

The Daly Planet welcomes TV-related comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. Thank you for stopping by.


majors house said...

It makes me really wonder if there has been cheating by those teams on the Cup side as well. I find it interesting that the Gibbs Toyota's are the only ones that have consistently done anything on either the Cup or Nationwide series and after they were caught cheating at Michigan because of the tapered spacer rule in the Nationwide car, it makes one really wonder if they have been cheating all along and Tony got out while the getting was good.
Maybe this will end their domination in the Nationwide series and let some fo the Nationwide only drivers have a fighting chance to show the true talent they really have without the Cup drivers invading their series.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Going to be up to ESPN and SPEED to tell the tale, they are the only NASCAR TV partners left for the rest of the season.

Vicky D said...

Big big penalties. This will be very upsetting to Joe Gibbs I'm curious when he will have a press conference. And Ray Evernham said they weren't cheating too.

Kyle said...

JD quick question I have always wondered about.

When they hand out a $50k fine to a crew member, will that actually come out of his pocket? Or will the team pay it for him? I cant imagine that these nationwide car chiefs are making that much money a year where they can afford a 50k hit.

Sophia said...

Very interesting and it does make you wonder about the domination..for this to happen after restrictions on Toyota's.....

I also agree whoever said the driver's did it, makes an apology...and I would be interesting in what Ray E says about his Monday comments now.

Thanks for the details.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Sometimes the owner is in total agreement with what happened and the fine gets paid by the team.

In this case, these actions go against everything this team has stood for since it was founded and this is their first penalty of this kind.

I really don't know where the Coach or JD would find the reasoning to pay those fines. I am sure that there are some internal issues going-on right now at JGR and it should be interesting to see who shows up on Friday to lead and crew the Nationwide Series team.


I have made it known to ESPN that fans of both Logano and Stewart are pretty upset that ESPN suggested the drivers placed the washers/magnets after the race was over. Trust me, I am hearing it from the Tony fans. Hopefully, NASCAR Now will address that issue since neither driver was suspended from the Nationwide Series.

Should be interesting at 5PM


Sophia said...

Thanks JD. N Now may have one of their highest rated shows today.

Another example of SPEED's not having a race show during the week hurting that station, imo. Can't interrupt Pinks or Unique Whips!?!?

Andrew S. said...

Sophia, Speed has the truck race tonight.

Daly Planet Editor said...

We have got to get her back on the decaf!

Sophia said...

Duh!! Oh yea! Forgot about the truck race tonight.

Embarrassing blond momento!!

Sophia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sophia said...

sorry for my deletions of late...things been posting twice. Blogger hiccups.

And I just now had my second cup of coffee :)

sigh...still blushing

majors house said...

Dont' worry about it and Ithink that NASCAR Now will be the most interesting show on tv tonight and I would love to know what Ray Evernham thinks now.

Anonymous said...

So where are the Truck practice and qualifying broadcasts? SPEED is a worthless network, even worse than ESPN.

Geez said...


I agree that it will be interesting to see who shows up at Bristol. Do they appeal and have one more week with the current crew to prepare for their absence, or take their medicine from the get go.

My gut tells me that the coach is so mortified by this, hr will pick the later.

Geez said...

I hate it when I answer my own question. :-)

They are apparently not going to appeal.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 1:54PM,

Still not quite sure what is going on with all of that. My only feeling is that the TV crew may still be setting up having just come from MIS.

Normally, we get qualifying with no problem on SPEED and sometimes practice depending on the logistics.

Your comment about SPEED is ridiculous. They just picked up all the Sprint Cup qualifying sessions that ESPN was not going to televise...during The Chase races! Please.

BTW - SPEED will be doing all the Nationwide and Cup practice and qualifying sessions at Bristol on Friday and Saturday.


Newracefan said...

The ESPN report about the drivers had gone further than just ESPN. MY headline on homepage in the sports section had "Stewart Cheats" the other day. I was floored since I knew what was going on but WOW. It was changed to JGR and NW in the headline later in the week. Hopefully it will be addressed by NN or something, that statement was just inappropriate.

Anonymous said...

@kyle---I haven't heard about all the teams but I know Hendrick pays the fines for all of his teams.

It's truly a shame :(. I wonder what heads will roll when all is said and done.

Other than the X measurement at TX a few years ago and Smoke got his car taken away, I can't recall anything serious from them previously. Even with the X measurement they said they just forgot to remeasure because it fit the template without the window and when they put the window in it no longer fit the template.

red said...

jd said:
"I have made it known to ESPN that fans of both Logano and Stewart are pretty upset that ESPN suggested the drivers placed the washers/magnets after the race was over."

aside from the nascar angle of this story, what angers me the most is the comments made by espn personnel, accusing the drivers of placing the magnets or washers or whatever the hell was put under the accelerators. throwing these guys under the bus on air was inexcusable and they are both owed an apology by tim brewer and anyone else who jumped on that bandwagon. to make such an accustion without having any facts that supported it goes far beyond the usual "anonymous sources told us today that . . ." and moves right to the edge of slander. i don't know what brewer had in mind and frankly, i'm not certain i care. it was unprofessional and called into question the personal honesty of two active drivers without either driver having the opportunity to defend himself. inexcusable.

i will be seriously disappointed in the men and women of nascar now if this aspect of the story is glossed over or not even raised. i'm VERY pleased that coach made clear that the drivers were not involved and thereby brought the issue into the discussion. i am a strong supporter of nascar now this season and i hope they do an intelligent, professional job tonight.

(and if i were tony stewart, i wouldn't even TALK to an espn reporter for the balance of the season! they need him far more than he needs them and they have done him -- and logano -- a major wrong!)

Daly Planet Editor said...


There is one thing that really needs to be sorted out. I kind of understand where the ESPN guys were coming from not having any info about the situation at all and being put on-the-spot on live TV.

Normally, the cars that are being torn-down or put on the dyno have several Inspectors around them. Just like the reason none of the crew guys can tough the winning car in Victory Lane.

The issue is still how did the washers/magnets get there? Tony said on his radio show that because of the big seats in the cars for MIS the crew members would have to go in head-first just to reach that area.

The guys have not only the big seats but leg extensions that sometimes run down almost to the pedals. Seeing as they have a passenger side window as well for MIS, Stewart's point was simply how did they do it?

Someone had to crawl in the driver's side window, go head-first down to the floorboard, insert a piece in a specific hole and then climb out.

In my entire time in NASCAR, that would NEVER be allowed for a car that was going through some kind of post-race inspection.

Maybe we will wind-up hearing that some Inspectors were called on the carpet for this mess as well. It will certainly be interesting.


red said...

jd, i completely understand all the confusion and that is EXACTLY my point: it was (and remains) unacceptable and unprofessional for brewer to state on air that the drivers had to have done it whe he didn't have enough information to make such a blanket statement. what he could have offered was exactly the explanation you just offered and let fans ponder that. he didn't. he accused the drivers of being accomplices to the cheating. and that's what's making me angry.

i understand that his comments came at the beginning of this whole mess and that additional information has come out since then. i also understand that he was "put on the spot on live-tv" (although i believe that's part of his job, isn't it?) but you know, jd, i'm not going to give him a break on this one. this isn't simply "mis-speaking": he accused two drivers of cheating. he apparently never even considered what many fans immediately thought: how the hell could someone built like stewart move around in that seat enough to position anything under the pedal?

maybe brewer was thinking that the inspection (and by extension, dyno chassis) process is simply too stringent to permit any other scenario. i don't necessarily believe he thought that but, let's give him the benefit of the doubt. isn't there a way to make that point without saying what he said and calling out stewart by name? how about explaining the inspection process and then saying "i just don't know how that could have been circumvented, folks, i truly don't." i believe there was a different way to say it and THAT'S why i'm angry: he was unprofessional and accused someone of something without any evidence. AND he did it on-air AND the drivers involved never had a chance to defend themselves.

it's just wrong, jd, just wrong. and it speaks to my continuing argument that some of the men and women who are covering nascar are do not possess the skills needed to be in the positions they hold. brewer should stick to mangling tech center explanations, not try to "report a story." he just doesn't have the chops.

Anonymous said...

I just read everyone's comments on the magnet-gate I sure hope that the drivers didn't have anything to do with it- especially Joey since he is brand new. Apparently according to Joe Gibbs, that a small group of employees were involved and he will deal with this as an employer. He will discuss with NASCAR about the drivers. I hope that the list of employees with be published and be allowed back in NASCAR. Mary

Anonymous said...

updated on my comment: I meant to say that they will NOT be allowed back in NASCAR

red said...

jd said:
"The issue is still how did the washers/magnets get there?"

and now that marty smith and nascar now have given coach time to say his piece, guess what? we still don't have that answer. marty asked, coach didn't answer and marty didn't press for details. obviously, coach knows what nascar knows and coach also knows who did what and when.

but the fans still don't have that answer. wonder why? and i wonder if any nascar "journalist" will get that information for us.

but, never mind. it's behind us now and we're talking jj in a truck and dj and brad discussing bristol from remote locations. almost as if it never happened . . .

(wonder if speed will do any better?)

Sophia said...

Well, I am not a huge 100% on body language but I think it's safe to say, Joe did not look comfortable and knew a lot more than he cared to share at this point.

Probably wondering how to deal with the mess and he must be majorly honked off and disappointed.

But following up on Red' s comment about Tony's size, I would look for the smallest crew member and go with them for suspect #1.

I'm just saying...not that this is funny but to dive headfirst into a car is no easy feat and reach down that far..especially with the thicker panels of the COT I would imagine.

Anonymous said...

When I was watching the race last Sunday and Tim Brewer from espn said that the drivers must have been involved I was shocked. Common sense lead me to believe that Tim certainly didn't have his commonsense hat on. Why would a rookie who has everything to lose cheat? Why would a wiley ol veteran who is leaving JGR cheat?

I hope Tony gives espn hell if they have the nerve (which I doubt) to interview him on Sunday. There has been a rift the past couple of years between Tony and espn and it makes you wonder if espn's director had their analysts put out this driver involvement to get a soundbite from Tony. I do know for a fact that the rift will continue.

Anonymous said...

I always wonder why they do this penalizing a certain number of points and fining a certain number of dollars instead of the old fashioned disqualification or ban.

Banning a team from the next race would seem a much better penalty in some sense (which is what F1 used to do) because then the sponsors on the car lose their TV time in addition to everything else.

Newracefan said...

Larry Mac will most likely address magnet gate along with Hammond, not so sure about NP since it was a NW issue and Chad has always been careful not to throw any other crew chief under the bus (you know that glass house thing).

It looks like Jamie was elected to try and bandage the driver accusations by Brewer but just dealt in facts so I'm not sure it helped much. Especially wiht the "no comments" I'm surprised Tony's people talked to her at all.

Richard in N.C. said...

I thought the 2 JGR cars and some others were going to be dyno'd at the track, which I thought involved putting the car on the dyno contraption and running the engine. I wonder whether some part of the driver seat, headrest, etc. has to be removed in order to allow access to crank and run the engine at top RPM, which might allow an opportunity for some crew member to reach in to slide the magnets into place.

Depending on how the magnets were put into place, I can imagine that NASCAR might not want the details out until it has decided how to prevent such in the future and has so instructed all the inspectors at Bristol - and at this point I am sure that JGR is going to go along with whatever NASCAR says it can or cannot disclose.

Anonymous said...

Richard in N.C. - The chassis dynos that NASCAR use are very similar to what the states use to "smog" test your car when you have to get the emissions tested ...

In this case, an inspector will hop in & press down on the gas pedal to get it to max rpm & varying levels in-between ...

speedangel said...

Well the suggestion of the drivers' involvement is still very prevalent in ESPN's presentation of the story, if their scroll at the bottom of the screen is any indication. How it's presented gives the impression that it was the drivers' idea to those who don't follow NASCAR. I just read it and it says that Stewart and Logano were stripped 150 points for attempting to alter the numbers. It gives the fact that the crew chiefs were suspended as a side note and there's no mention of the other team member suspensions.

Anonymous said...

NN did not apologize - I had it DVR'd & just watched it.
This is why I can't stand ESPN - say anything they want, and then pretend they never said it!
Rumors lies & conjecture is not solid reporting.

Its interesting that Coach is going to talk with NASCAR because the drivers got put on probation & were not involved. Seems to me Cuzin Carl should be on probation for the oil tank lid if Tony & Joey are put on probation...

The guilty persons should be on probation, or suspened a number of races, not the "till we wanna let ya back" model. Also NN did not report all of the suspensions, crew chief & car chief were mentioned, did they mention the engine tuners and other personnel?
Also why is it Hendricks teams don't get this kind of scrutiny when they were winning last year? Oh I forgot - Roush & cRusty weren't stirring up the pot.
Why doesn't NA$CAR tell the other auto makers to step it up, Toyota found a way to make their product better within the original rules.
So NA$CAR changed the rules mid season to make it "fair" for auto makers who complained.
Now that Carl is on a uptick will Fords be tested? No they aren't Toyota. They are "American" talk about your uneven playing field!

Anonymous said...

Jo said: Why doesn't NA$CAR tell the other auto makers to step it up, Toyota found a way to make their product better within the original rules.
So NA$CAR changed the rules mid season to make it "fair" for auto makers who complained.
Now that Carl is on a uptick will Fords be tested? No they aren't Toyota. They are "American" talk about your uneven playing field!

Well from what I have heard the Chevy R07 is pretty equal to what the Toyota engine package is. But Chevy is not allowed to run that package at this point in Nationwide.

SallyB said...

Lee Spencer has posted a very good article about this on FOX Sports:

Excellent explanation of the situation and why some think it's worse than cheating in a race.

Anonymous said...

@reed--agreed. They burned bridges with him last year over the "swear" word. I still don't understand it at all. They were filming him chatting with Robby at least 5 minutes and we had NO audio just the booth wondering what they were talking about. And IIRC Mr. Petree even said something like "I wonder if we can listen in" and still no audio. Suddenly he walks by, declines to chat with ESPN and we suddenly have audio? Made no sense.

I don't recall hearing this before but I was enlightened in that TWIN clip, that Brewer caused Pat Tryson to quit in the middle of the race because of his talking. Seems he's not always wise when he speaks.

Anonymous said...

As a retired mechanical engineer i just shake my head at the sloppy way NASCAR handles chassis dyno tests. To get a fair test you need tires/pressures equal, new air filter, CHECK throttle opens fully and water/oil temperatures are equal on all cars tested.If NASCAR was smart they would publish the above checks so teams would know they couldn't get away with these little tricks. BTW a Ford had the most horsepower on the engine dyno tests but Toyota got their engines restricted.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Well from what I have heard the Chevy R07 is pretty equal to what the Toyota engine package is. But Chevy is not allowed to run that package at this point in Nationwide.

August 20, 2008 7:22 PM
Is this another "we haven't approved it yet" like they did to Robby Gordon?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW a Ford had the most horsepower on the engine dyno tests but Toyota got their engines restricted.

August 20, 2008 9:09 PM

As my Hubby says its Cashcar it doesn't have to make sense

darbar said...

Well, at least Dale Jarrett said he didn't believe the drivers were involved. But as we all know, the "S" in ESPN stands for sensationalizing". It stinks that they are still implying the drivers were the culprits behind the magnet. But even Joe Gibbs made it clear that the drivers were not involved.

majors house said...

Even if the drivers did not do it, I am not totally convinced that they did not kow that something was going on. I was really hoping that we would get some real fire out this story tonight, but as true to form, it did not happen.