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NASCAR penalizes Michael Waltrip Racing; Martin Truex Jr. out of Chase

Martin Truex Jr. is out of the Chase and Ryan Newman is now in following unprecedented penalties issued by NASCAR Monday.

Todd Warshaw

Following manipulation of the finishing order by Michael Waltrip Racing in Saturday's regular season finale at Richmond, NASCAR has handed down unprecedented penalties that will cost Martin Truex Jr. his position in the Chase for the Sprint Cup and his ownership $300,000. The driver most impacted by the controversy, Ryan Newman, replaced Truex through the wild card bid.

As part of the wide-ranging penalties, all three MWR drivers -- Truex, Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers -- were docked 50 driver points. Because the points are deducted from each driver's regular season total, this removes Truex from the second Chase wild card position. He'll be replaced by Newman, the highest driver in points eligible for a wild card.

However, with the points penalty affecting only a driver's regular season total, Bowyer's Chase seeding is not impacted and he will begin the playoffs as the eighth seed.

NASCAR has also fined MWR $300,000 and team general manager Ty Norris has been suspended indefinitely. All three crew chiefs have been placed on probation until Dec. 31.

The penalties follow Bowyer intentionally creating a caution by spinning out with seven laps that erased Newman's sizeable lead; a victory that would have ensured him the second wild card at the expense of Truex.

In the 10-year history of the Chase, this is the first time a driver who had secured a Chase berth has been removed by NASCAR.

MWR has the option to appeal the penalties, but has not announced whether it will do so.

"I am proud that NASCAR took a stand with respect to what went on Saturday night at Richmond," Newman said in a statement. "I know it was a tough decision to make."

Michael Waltrip stood by his team on Twitter: "This wasn't a master plan or about a spin. It's about a split-second decision made by Ty to try to help a teammate. I stand by my people."

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