Bowyer’s late spin for late caution ignites some controversy (VIDEO)


Ryan Newman had driven the wheels off his No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet to lead at Richmond for Stewart-Haas Racing, the regular season finale in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

Then with less than 10 laps to go, Clint Bowyer spun out of Turn 4 in the No. 15 5-Hour Energy Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing, to cause the final caution of the race. It was a rather lazy spin and didn’t cause much in the way of damage to his car.

Pit stops occurred on the caution and Newman, who was leading, was unable to retain the position as his team got him out in fifth place. Newman told ESPN in the aftermath that “a championship-contending pit crew” would not have taken him out of the lead, effectively detonating whatever bridge he had left with the team as he leaves at the end of the year.

Still, a question that began popping up from reporters shortly after the race was asking whether Bowyer’s spin was intentional, in a ploy to help Bowyer’s MWR teammate Martin Truex Jr. make it the Chase. At the time of the spin, Newman was in and Truex was out, but the positions were reversed by the end of the race. Truex made it in over Newman on a tie-breaker, thanks to a better best finish.

Bowyer explained what he thought happened in the post-race press conference: “We had something gone wrong. Extremely tight. 88 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) got up underneath of me and I had so much wheel in it, it spun out. My car was tight as hell. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) blew a tire and hit the wall. I’m telling you I was the next one. Don’t look too much into it.”

Newman refused to enter into speculation: “I have no idea, I am not going to speculate. If it was the case, I’ll find out one way or the other,” he said in his post-race press conference.

ESPN’s Marty Smith asked Newman’s team boss Tony Stewart, sidelined from driving but on site in Richmond with a custom-made electric scooter, whether a driver would do so such a thing. “Yep. There’s a lotta money involved in making the Chase,” Stewart told Smith.

Truex said he didn’t know who had caused the spin. “I didn’t even know the 15 brought out the caution until after the race,” he said. “I raced my (expletive) off all night long, that’s all I can do.”

The only driver who suggested the spin was intentional was Earnhardt Jr., who called it “the craziest thing he’d ever seen.” He also said telemetry could be used to determine Bowyer’s trajectory and speed through the corner on the lap he spun versus other laps.

An interesting post-script for sure, that ends with two MWR Toyotas in the 2013 Chase and the Stewart-Haas camp on the outside looking in with a driver who hasn’t announced his 2014 plans yet, either.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023


Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.