Thursday, April 24, 2014
By JENNA FRYER, The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
"We're probably going to pit here on green," Norris says.
"Are you talking to me?" a surprised Vickers asks.
Vickers continued to question the call, at one point asking, "I don't understand, pit right now?"
"You've got to pit this time. We need that 1 point," Norris replies.
"10-4. Do I got a tire going down?" Vickers asked.
Vickers then pitted as the field went green. When he asked after if his crew found anything with the tire, Norris replied, "I'll see you after the race, Brian, I owe you a kiss."
Bowyer's radio communication is not as verbose, but he pitted twice after his spin, and the team called him down pit road for a third time with no explanation as the field went green.
It's not uncommon in NASCAR for teammates to help each other with track position, so on its face, the calls for the two MWR drivers to pit aren't that egregious. But added with Bowyer's spin, fans were crying foul on MWR's actions, especially since it cost both Gordon and Newman spots in the 10-race Chase.
MWR co-owner Michael Waltrip was calling the Truck race for Fox Sports 1 on Sunday and declined to comment to AP, saying he was too busy preparing for the broadcast.
Gordon posted on Twitter that he felt bad for both drivers.
"Was feeling pretty bad about missing the #Chase but after seeing all the details coming out now I feel even worse for @RyanNewman39," he tweeted on Sunday.
Newman downplayed the significance of Bowyer's spin because he said his pit crew still had a chance to put him in position to win the race after the caution.
"They are teammates. I don't know if he looked at the scoring pylon, knew I was leading, it doesn't matter," Newman said after the race. "If that was the case, I'll find out one way or the other. At the same time, we still had the opportunity to make our own destiny and win it on pit road, and we didn't. That being said, we're out."