NASCAR reinstated Michael Waltrip Racing general manager Ty Norris on Thursday after his suspension when MWR was penalized for race manipulation after Richmond in September.
"NASCAR announced Thursday that it has reinstated Ty Norris, an executive with Michael Waltrip Racing," the sanctioning body said in a statement. "Norris had been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR last Sept. 9 as part of the penalties assessed to MWR following the sanctioning body’s review of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sept. 7 at Richmond International Raceway. Norris remains on indefinite NASCAR probation."
We wonder how long that indefinite probation will last. Given the opaqueness of NASCAR probation, it could be forever.
Norris wasn't the only member of MWR punished in the race manipulation scandal fallout, though he essentially became the fall guy for the organization. After Clint Bowyer spun and Brian Vickers was instructed to lay back to ensure that Martin Truex Jr. would make the Chase, all three drivers were docked 50 points. After initially making the Chase, the penalties removed Truex from it and Ryan Newman was added to the Chase in his place. (Newman was leading the race at the time of Bowyer's spin.) At Richmond, Norris was serving as Vickers' spotter and provided the driver instructions to slow down.
The Friday after the Richmond race, NASCAR added a 13th driver, Jeff Gordon, to the Chase.
In the fallout from Richmond, Truex's sponsor, NAPA, left the team at the end of the year. That effectively left Truex without a job and at Texas in November, he announced his move to Furniture Row Racing in 2014. His crew chief in 2013, Chad Johnston, is now the crew chief for Tony Stewart.
Because of the lack of sponsorship, MWR is fielding two full-time cars in 2014. With Bowyer and Vickers running for the championship, the team hired Jeff Burton to run part-time in a third car before Burton moves to the NBC Sports broadcast booth in 2015.
- - - - - - -