I’ve steered clear of commenting on this topic until everything died down a bit, but there are a few things that strike me:
1) Bowyer’s spin was 100% deliberate. If you watch his onboard before the crash you can clearly see him smoothly turning the wheel and applying the throttle but just before the spin he saws away at the wheel like an actor in a 50′s movie car chase. He is clearly trying to unsettle the car and tip it into a spin, the driver of the 88 car seems to confirm this.
2) NASCAR has to be praised in acting so quickly to resolve this situation and to sanction the drivers and team involved….but;
3) The official reasons given by NASCAR (as pointed out by @fisha695) are total cobblers. Call a spade a spade NASCAR (you usually do), MWR tried to manipulate the result of the race and they deserve to be sanctioned. The monetary fine given out to MWR may be insignificant in the sense that they still ended up making a bit of money out of the race, but it no doubt makes a big difference to the team and, more importantly, draws a line in the sand, race manipulating won’t be tolerated…and;
4) I understand the reasons given for Clint Bowyer’s inclusion in The Chase, but given his key role in all of this would the better fix not have been to exclude him from The Chase and replace him with Jeff Gordon (who has bee taped to the bottom of that Chase board)? You still get 12 drivers in The Chase and a driver who tried to manipulate the result of a race gets properly punished for his actions.
This year’s Chase for the Cup conspiracy-gate saga plays squarely into many non-NASCAR fans’ caricatures of stock car racing and the scandalous stories from Richmond are unlikely to help NASCAR broaden its market as it desperately hopes to do. So it will be interesting to see if the fallout from Richmond further engages NASCAR’s redneck fan base or adds to their increasing weariness for their favourite sport.