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NASCAR announces Chase rules changes

The SportsXchange

After meeting with teams, crew chiefs and drivers for more than 15 minutes at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, NASCAR announced rules changes that will affect Chase races.

The changes come after last week's controversy involving race fixing. They take effect with Sunday's first Chase race of the season.

Teams and drivers cannot offer positions for benefit, ask another driver to give up position, cause an intentional caution or cause an intentional wreck. Also, a camera will be placed on the spotter stand to help NASCAR monitor on-track activity.

Only one team spotter is allowed on the stand and only analog radios are permitted on the stand. Digital radios are prohibited there.

"Today's technical bulletin addresses the subject of team(s) artificially altering the outcome of a race and the level of reaction that this will receive from NASCAR," Robin Pemberton, NASCAR Vice President of Competition, said in a statement. "We reinforced this issue to the teams in our meeting earlier today and conveyed what is considered unacceptable in our officiating of the event."

NASCAR chairman Brian France and president Mike Helton said it would be made clear what the code of conduct is and where the line should be drawn for teams working together on track after resetting its Chase for the Sprint Cup field for a second time this week and adding Jeff Gordon.

The addition of a 13th driver to the 12-driver Chase is unprecedented.

"Circumstances happened that are unhelpful in the credibility category," France said, according to USA Today. "There's no doubt about that."

Teams often make deals with other teams within organizations or under the same manufacturer umbrella to improve track position or pick up a point or lead a lap when needed.

France said the rules to limit teamwork came about after last week's controversial finish at Richmond International Raceway when several drivers believed that Michael Waltrip Racing tried to rig the finish so driver Martin Truex Jr. could qualify for the Chase.

"This is what (the drivers) want," France said. "They don't like team rules and they don't like some of the things that have gone on in the past."

NASCAR took away 50 points from all three MWR drivers, fined the team $300,000, placed general manager Ty Norris on probation and replaced Truex Jr. with Ryan Newman.

Gordon was added to the field after in-race audio surfaced earlier this week that showed possible collusion between Front Row Motorsports and Penske Racing. NASCAR said that Gordon did not have a fair chance to make the Chase.
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