JOLIET, Ill. — Citing unprecedented and extraordinary circumstances resulting from several allegations of race-fixing last week at Richmond International Raceway, NASCAR has expanded the field for its Chase for the Sprint Cup playoffs by adding Jeff Gordon as a 13th driver.
Coming in eighth place at Richmond Speedway last week, Jeff Gordon fell one point shy of the Chase. The last spot in the Chase then fell to Joey Logano of Penske Racing. That was before evidence emerged mid-week that the Penske team struck a deal with fellow Ford competitors Front Row Motorsports that allowed a struggling Logano to easily pass FRM driver David Gilliland for 22nd place as the laps wound down to gain the additional championship point he needed to edge Gordon for the final Chase berth.
After compiling and studying video and audio evidence, NASCAR CEO Brian France and president Mike Helton decided to place the Penske and Front Row teams on probation for the remainder of the 2013 season.
“We decided that due to the totality of the events that were outside of Jeff Gordon’s issues, we’re going to add a 13th position to the field so that Jeff Gordon will qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship this year,” France told reporters packed into Chicagoland Speedway’s media center. “We believe that there were too many things that altered the event that gave an unfair disadvantage to Jeff and his team, who would have qualified. It’s just the right thing to do.”
Jeff Gordon shared his enthusiasm through twitter by saying the following:
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p>Wow we just gained 1250 points! Very appreciative of <a href=”https://twitter.com/NASCAR”>@NASCAR</a> consideration on this matter as well as fans overwhelming support.</p>— Jeff Gordon (@JeffGordonWeb) <a href=”https://twitter.com/JeffGordonWeb/statuses/378612602248892416″>September 13, 2013</a></blockquote>
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The 13 Chase participants will begin there quest for the Sprint Cup Sunday afternoon in Joliet, Illinois, which airs at 2:00 pm ET on ESPN.