NASCAR penalizes Bubba Wallace for admitting to intentional spin to bring out a caution

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November 09, 2019 12:58 PM

NASCAR penalizes Bubba Wallace for admitting to intentional spin to bring out a caution

Driver was docked $50,000 and 50 championship points

Matt Weaver

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Bubba Wallace was hit with a precedent-establishing penalty for intentional spinning to bring out a caution at Texas Motor Speedway.

NASCAR has fined Richard Petty Motorsports driver Bubba Wallace $50,000 and docked him 50 points on Saturday, one day after he all but admitted to intentionally spinning to bring out a caution last weekend during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
During an interview with NBC Sports’ reporter Dustin Long, Wallace admitted, “I’m not the only one to do it.”
Despite calls from rival competitors over the week that Wallace should have been reprimanded for what they viewed as an obvious and race-disruptive intentional spin, NASCAR did not penalize the 26-year-old due to a lack of obvious evidence.
But upon admitting it to NBC Sports, NASCAR called Wallace and Richard Petty Motorsports competition director Philippe Lopez to its Cup Series hauler on Saturday morning to discuss the comments.
The sanctioning body cited Wallace as violating Section 12.1.a General Procedures, Section 12.8 NASCAR Member Conduct, Section 12.8.1 Member Conduct Guidelines and Section 10.8 In-Race Violations of the NASCAR rule book. The rules state in Section 10.8 that officials can impose a penalty for “intentionally causing or attempt to cause a caution period.”
Section 12.1.a of the Rule Book states: “NASCAR membership is a privilege. With that privilege comes certain benefits, responsibilities and obligations. Correct and proper conduct, both on and off the race track, is part of a Member’s responsibilities. A Member’s actions can reflect upon the sport as a whole and on other NASCAR Members. Ideally, NASCAR Members are role models for the many fans who follow this sport, regardless of the type of license a Member may hold, or the specific Series in which a Member may participate. Therefore, NASCAR views a Member’s conduct, both on and off the race track, which might constitute a behavioral Rules violation under this Rule Book with great importance.”
Speaking with reporters at Phoenix, NASCAR senior vice president of competition Scott Miller called the Wallace interview a “complete admission of guilt.”
“It’s not very straightforward to determine if that is done on purpose,” Miller said. “We’ve all watched the cars drive down the straightaway with a flat tire weaving all over the place. For us to make a definitive call that a guy spun out on purpose when he can barely keep his car going straight is a big call, and it’s a judgment call, and it’s a call that we would like to not have to make.”
The team released a statement attributed to Lopez on Friday afternoon.
“Our team met with NASCAR officials this morning to discuss Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr.’s post-practice comments on Friday, November 8, concerning an on-track incident which occurred at the Texas Motor Speedway,” Lopez said. “We fully understand NASCAR’s position and expectations of its competitors. NASCAR has a difficult job officiating race events and we do not need to make the task more challenging. Wallace will not appeal the penalty and will direct his immediate focus to this weekend’s event at the ISM Raceway.”
The spin was disruptive to Kyle Larson’s race because it came in the middle of green flag pit stops and trapped the current championship finalist one lap down. Prior to the Wallace spin, Larson was inside the top five. He eventually finished 12th but felt as though he was robbed of a potential top-five.
Larson said he didn’t begrudge Wallace personally for it, but lamented that it hurt his playoff advancement chances — thus making it a matter of sporting integrity.
“Sometimes you end up on the right side of it and whatnot,” Larson said. “But last week, we didn’t, so obviously that’s why I was upset. We all have done it; I’ve done it. I got penalized a lap and still was able to recover and win. We’ve all done it, but it can affect the race.”
Larson also suggested that NASCAR could look at his throttle data from the race and easily tell that the spin was intentional — bringing an entire day’s worth of conversation over whether NASCAR needs to get into the judgment call business of intentional spins.
Miller disputed this claim, however.
“We don’t have a lot of data comparison of a guy trying to drive a car with a flat tire, so we’ve looked at all that and we don’t really feel like it’s as straightforward as some of the others do, as far as the data showing definitively that he did it on purpose,” Miller said.
In that same interview with NBC Sports, Wallace said he wasn’t worried about potential penalties from NASCAR.
“Until they do anything, no,” Wallace said. “I’m not the only one to do it. I’m racing for myself. Not for Larson. Not for Chevrolet at that moment. For myself and going multiple laps down.”
Now NASCAR has done something about it.
“Hopefully it cleans itself up,” said Miller. “If we feel like it’s on purpose and we have enough information to determine 100 percent it’s on purpose, we will react.”

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Source:https://autoweek.com/article/monster-energy-nascar-cup/nascar-penalizes-bubba-wallace-admitting-intentional-spin-bring

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