The discussion here at TNI regarding Paul Menard and his spin at Richmond began on Wednesday. One of our readers, Fireball Doowah, submitted the following question to ATIW:
Jeff Gordon alleged that the late spin by Paul Menard at Richmond was intentional. Do you think there is anything to this, other than sour grapes?
I responded with the following answer:
I guess anything is possible. As tore up as Menard’s car was, it’s not implausible to believe that he just lost it. But Menard spinning out with 17 laps to go did not win Harvick the race. The late pit stop and a strong race car did.
Now, thanks to Jay Busbee and his guys over at “From the Marbles,” Menard’s radio traffic from the end of the race is available for you to hear and you can decide for yourself. Click here to hear it. And, to balance this out, click here to read Menard’s comments to SBNation regarding the incident and his radio transmissions.
…Now that you’ve had a chance to listen and see Menard’s thoughts, what do you think? The conversation between Menard and Stevie Reeves certainly doesn’t appear to be innocent. And the voice asking Slugger to switch over to channel two towards the end sounds like it could be that of RCR’s Mike Dillon. The obvious connection here is that the message over on channel two was that it was time for Menard to get involved. Near the end, the driver and crew chief claim the spin was caused by a down tire, but that right rear sure looked like it was up to me.
Moving along, whether you think what Menard did was dirty, or just racing, hear me out. Like I said on Wednesday, Menard spinning out did not, I repeat, did not win the race for Kevin Harvick. Yes, it certainly gave his team a shot, but it didn’t win them the race. If Gordon’s team is able to maintain their track position coming off pit road, Menard spinning would be a non-issue. Gordon would have had the preferred line into turn one on the restart and chances are Harvick wouldn’t have gotten by him. But quick work by the 29 pit crew and a strong enough race car to hold off Gordon and Carl Edwards is what won the race for Harvick.
If this really did go down like it appears it might have, it definitely looks bad for everyone involved. But I can’t say that it really surprises me. Teams have certainly done worse to try and win races and championships.
Now it’s your turn. If you are NASCAR, would you issue anyone a penalty? Do you think it can it really be proven that Menard spun on purpose? Or do you just bring everyone behind closed doors and tell them in the usual NASCAR way that this is not how things will be done. Let’s hear it.