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.
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