Teams for Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne punished after Texas post-race brawl; no drivers penalized

4 Comments

After the second post-race fight in this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup took place Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway, NASCAR has penalized crew members and crew chiefs for the Hendrick Motorsports teams of Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne.

Three crew members in total – No. 5 (Kahne) crewman Jeremy Fuller and No. 24 (Gordon) crewmen Dwayne Doucette and Jason Ingle – have each been fined $25,000 and suspended from NASCAR for the next six Sprint Cup Series points races. They can return to competition for the fifth race of the 2015 season at Auto Club Speedway next March.

Another crewman from the No. 24 team, Dean Mozingo, has been fined $10,000 and suspended for the next three Sprint Cup points races. He’ll be able to return for the second race of the 2015 season at Atlanta Motor Speedway, which is also next March.

No. 24 crew chief Alan Gustafson and No. 5 crew chief Kenny Francis have sustained the biggest fines of all – $50,000 apiece. However, they have avoided suspension; instead, they will be on probation for the next six Sprint Cup points races.

All three drivers at the center of the fracas following Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 – Gordon, Brad Keselowski, and Kevin Harvick – were not penalized at all.

NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton had this to say in a statement:

“While the intensity and emotions are high as we continue through the final rounds of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the actions that we saw from several crew members Sunday following the race at Texas are unacceptable. We reviewed the content that was available to us of the post-race incident along pit road, and identified several crew members who crossed the line with their actions, specifically punching others.”

“We therefore have penalized four crew members as well as their crew chiefs, as they ultimately are responsible for members of their team per the NASCAR rulebook. A NASCAR championship is at stake, but we can’t allow behavior that crosses the line to go unchecked, particularly when it puts others in harm’s way.”

In a battle for second position, Keselowski made contact with Gordon during the first of two green-white-checkered attempts to finish the race on Sunday. The contact caused Gordon to fall back and moments later, he suffered a tire failure and spun out.

After the race ended with Jimmie Johnson defeating Keselowski on the second G-W-C attempt, Gordon sought out Keselowski on pit road and vented his frustrations.

As Gordon continued to yell, Harvick then pushed Keselowski in the back. Gordon pushed forward and grabbed Keselowski by the collar, triggering the fight between their respective crews. During the scrum, multiple crew members appeared to throw punches at Keselowski.

Shortly after NASCAR handed down its verdict, Hendrick Motorsports announced it would not appeal and would not hand down additional sanctions themselves on their penalized crew members.

Team owner Rick Hendrick said the following in a statement:

“With NASCAR’s new Chase format, we’re seeing an unprecedented level of intensity every single week. Emotions run high when you’re racing for a championship, and that’s exciting for our fans and everyone involved with the sport. But there’s a line the competitors need to be cognizant of, and we understand that.

“Jeff was rightfully fired up Sunday night, and it just reiterated to me how passionate he is and how much he wants to win. The No. 24 team is a group that works together and is loyal to one another. They have our full support as we go into these final two races.”

Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.
0 Comments

On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.


Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)