NASCAR adds Jeff Gordon to 2013 Chase as its 13th driver

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Jeff Gordon has been added to NASCAR’s 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup as a 13th driver, on Friday, September 13. Because naturally, you can’t make this stuff up.

NASCAR CEO Brian France and President Mike Helton had a brief press conference Friday afternoon at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. and mainly cited “extraordinary circumstances” based on the events in the last 10 laps at Richmond last week.

“Based upon the totality of our findings, to be fair and equitable we decided that adding a 13th car to this year’s Chase is the appropriate action,” France said in a statement. “Beginning with our decision Monday, which resulted in an unprecedented team penalty, and continuing with further examination of actions involving two other race teams, it is clear to us that attempts to manipulate the results impacted the Chase field. The integrity of our sport remains the cornerstone of NASCAR, and our actions this week speak to our commitment to ensure a level playing field for all competitors.”

France added during the press conference, “It wasn’t one set of circumstances that led us to this decision. It’s multiple set of circumstamces. Any one of them could have given a disadvantage. It was overwhelming in our view that it just wasn’t fair.”

Additionally, Helton confirmed Penske Racing and Front Row Motorsports would be placed on probation for the remainder of the season for the radio communications from Front Row regarding David Gilliland, its driver, and Joey Logano, Penske’s exchanging positions late in the race.

A mandatory meeting will be held with drivers, crew chiefs and owners on Saturday to clarify rules and evaluate the ethics of the rules going forward for the series.

A tweet from Gordon expressed his understandable delight.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.