Penske Racing issued the following statement at 7 p.m. ET Friday night:
“Penske Racing acknowledges NASCAR’s decision to place the organization on probation following the circumstances surrounding last weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Richmond. We appreciate the time and effort that NASCAR took to evaluate the circumstances while determining no deal occurred between the No. 38 and No. 22 teams. Penske Racing accepts NASCAR’s decision and is now focused on a strong start to the Chase with Joey Logano and the No. 22 team.”
NASCAR President Mike Helton and his team made the decision after a thorough examination of all the data it had accumulated from last Saturday night.
“We’ve been looking at a lot of video, audio and timing and scoring information and other data from the Richmond race,” Helton said. “We reacted earlier this week and then based on further due diligence, what we’re determined to do — what we’ve decided is in addition to what other actions we’ve taken, we’re going to put Front Row Motorsports and Penske Racing both on probation for the balance of the year for actions detrimental.
“And in addition we are organizing a mandatory meeting with drivers and owners and crew chiefs for tomorrow to hopefully address and make more clearly the path going forward as it applies to the rules of racing and the ethical part of it.
“Basically what I’m saying is that we’ve decided that we will put Front Row and Penske Racing on probation for the balance of the season for actions detrimental.”
France said the decision to have 13 cars in this year’s Chase was the best way to ensure that every driver who was supposed to be in the field before the manipulation will have a fair shot at the Chase.
“We believe in looking at all of it that there were too many things that altered the event and gave an unfair disadvantage to Jeff and his team, who would have qualified, and I have the authority to do that,” France said. “We are going to do that. It is an unprecedented and extraordinary thing, but it’s also an unprecedented and extraordinary set of circumstances that unfolded in multiple different ways on Saturday night, and we believe this was the right outcome to protect the integrity, which is our number one goal of NASCAR.
“We will be clarifying in a significant way the rules of racing and the rules of the road going forward, and we will be looking forward to that meeting and addressing the media after that, after we meet with the teams to clarify that with certainly with the media and our fan base.
“We’re going to have as much clarity to where the line is, and obviously we drew a line Monday night with the penalties with Michael Waltrip Racing. So obviously what we’re going to do is we’re going to protect, no matter what it takes, the integrity of the sport will never be in question, and that’s what we’re going to make sure, that we have the right rules going forward that are clear so that the integrity of the competitive landscape of the events are not altered in a way or manipulated. And that will be what we will be addressing.
“I think more than anything, it’s just the right thing to do, more than anything. You know, as I said, there were just too many things that went on Saturday night that gave a clear disadvantage and we deemed unfair to the 24 that we needed to address that. That’s why we withhold the right to in extraordinary circumstances do important things like we did today.”