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NASCAR puts Newman in Chase, boots Truex

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Ryan Newman is in and Martin Truex Jr. is out.

On Monday, NASCAR penalized Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) for manipulating the finish of Saturday's race at Richmond, and the result gives Newman a spot in the Chase for the Cup that begins with Sunday's race at Chicago.

Newman was leading Saturday night's race with seven laps to go when Truex's MWR teammate, Clint Bowyer, spun out to bring out a caution. Newman, who would have earned a spot in the Chase with a victory, lost the race and was shut out of the Chase. Instead, Truex earned the final Chase berth -- until Monday's decision by NASCAR to dock Bowyer, Truex and Brian Vickers 50 points each.

MWR was judged to have violated Section 12-4 of the rules, actions detrimental to stock car racing.

NASCAR also fined MWR $300,000 and indefinitely suspended general manager Ty Norris. Bowyer's crew chief, Brian Pattie; Vickers' crew chief, Scott Miller; and Truex's crew chief, Chad Johnston, were all placed on NASCAR probation through the end of the calendar year.

NASCAR met with MWR representatives on Monday night before deciding on the penalties.

"We invited Michael Waltrip Racing, who accepted that invitation to come to the R&D Center, and sit with us to talk about from their perspective what unfolded at Richmond Saturday night, and from all of that, the conclusion is in front of you," NASCAR president Mike Helton said in Concord, N.C.

Not only could Newman not win, but Joey Logano had to have a top-10 and Jeff Gordon could not finish in the top-10 for Truex to make the Chase.

Upon review, NASCAR said Vickers surrendered a position to Logano after the Lap 398 restart, which helped Truex's unlikely scenario to play out.

Helton said communication between Norris and Vickers was the clearest piece of evidence to suggest that the finish was manipulated.

Waltrip apologized on Monday night and issued a statement:

"What occurred on the No. 55 radio at the end of Saturday night's race in Richmond was a split-second decision made by team spotter Ty Norris to bring the No. 55 to pit lane and help a teammate earn a place in the Chase," Waltrip said. "We regret the decision and its impact. We apologize to NASCAR, our fellow competitors, partners and fans who were disappointed in our actions. We will learn from this and move on. As general manager, Ty Norris has been an integral part of Michael Waltrip Racing since its founding and has my and (co-owner) Rob Kauffman's full support."

For his part, Newman was grateful that NASCAR made a quick, difficult decision.

"I am proud that NASCAR took a stand with respect to what went on Saturday night at Richmond," Newman said in a statement. "I know it was a tough decision to make. With that being said, myself, (crew chief) Matt Borland and this entire No. 39 team are looking forward to competing for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship."

NASCAR reviewed the race and determined evidence suggested that Bowyer deliberately spun out to help Truex. After the race on Saturday, Bowyer denied the charge.

The in-car communication between Bowyer and his crew right before Bowyer spun to bring out the caution raised suspicion, too.

"Thirty-nine is going to win the race," Bowyer was told over his radio.

"Is your arm starting to hurt?" Pattie asked. After a pause, Pattie said, "I bet it's hot in there. Itch it."

Bowyer's car then spun.
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