NASCAR driver Ryan Newman (left) and Clint Bowyer. | AP file photo
Where: Chicagoland Speedway, Joliet
When: Friday through Sunday
Tickets: Call (888) 629-7223
9-10:30 a.m.: EnjoyIllinois.com 225 (Truck Series) practice
11-11:50 a.m.: EnjoyIllinois.com 225 final practice
Noon-1:30 p.m.: GEICO 400 (Sprint Cup Series) practice
1:40-2:55 p.m.: Dollar General 300 (Nationwide Series) practice
3:05 p.m.: EnjoyIllinois.com 225 qualifying
4:10 p.m.: GEICO 400 qual.(ESPN2)
5:35-6:50 p.m.: Dollar General 300 final practice
7:30 p.m.: EnjoyIllinois.com 225(Fox Sports 1)
10-10:55 a.m.: GEICO 400 practice
11:05 a.m.: Dollar General 300 qualifying (Fox Sports 2)
1-1:50 p.m.: GEICO 400 final practice (Fox Sports 2)
2:30 p.m.: Dollar General 300 (ESPN2)
12:20 p.m.: GEICO 400 driver introductions
1 p.m.: GEICO 400 (ESPN, 95.9-FM, 98.3-FM)
Updated: October 15, 2013 7:19AM
All Ryan Newman wanted to hear was one thing from Clint Bowyer this week.
“He said, ‘Man, I’m happy that you’re in [the Chase],’ ” Newman said Thursday at Navy Pier. “That’s what I needed to hear.”
Newman and Bowyer are at the center of a controversy that is eclipsing Sunday’s GEICO 400, NASCAR’s first race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet.
NASCAR penalized Bowyer and his Michael Waltrip Racing team on Monday, ruling that Bowyer’s late spin was part of an effort by MWR to manipulate the outcome of last Saturday’s race at Richmond, Va., so that Martin Truex Jr. could qualify for the Chase.
MWR was penalized $300,000, the highest fine in NASCAR history, and Bowyer, Truex and Brian Vickers were each docked 50 points.
Truex made the Chase after Richmond as a wild card, but lost his spot to Newman after the penalty. Bowyer is in eighth place in the point standings.
“I’m just glad that for the integrity of our sport, a decision was made,” Newman said.
Perhaps the worst part for Newman is that he is good friends with both Bowyer and Truex.
“To see [Truex] be the byproduct of what happened is tough,” Newman said. “I know kind of how he felt and that, as a friend and somebody whose friendship I truly value, that’s tough. That’s the bittersweet part of it.
“I think [Truex] was the one who was penalized the most in this situation. I believe that he didn’t know what his organization was doing before, during or after.”
While Newman was more philosophical about the MWR incident, Bowyer just wanted to put everything behind him and move on as soon as possible.
Bowyer said he did at least seven hours worth of interviews Tuesday, the day after the penalties were handed down, and was done talking about the situation.
“The one thing I can tell you is I’m tired of talking about it,” Bowyer said. “I’ve had a rough couple of days, probably rougher than I’ve ever had.”
NASCAR is also investigating whether Front Row Motorsports allowed Penske Racing’s Joey Logano to pass its driver David Gilliland to help Logano qualify for the Chase.
Logano, who claimed a spot in the 12-car Chase field with the pass, denied having any knowledge of collusion between the two teams, and said he didn’t hear about the investigation until he landed in New Hampshire Wednesday for a personal appearance.
Other Chase drivers also weighed in, notably Dale Earnhardt Jr. who has had a professional relationship with Waltrip for most of his career. The two were teammates in 2001 when Waltrip won the Daytona 500. That was the same race where Dale Earnhardt Sr. was killed on the last lap.
“I think they got off pretty easy, especially Clint,” Earnhardt said. “He’s relatively unaffected [in the standings].”