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Hook, line and sinker
After earlier trouble, Austin Dillon gets caught up again in an incident, this time with the No. 32 of Steve Arpin .
NASCAR solidifies post-race penalty procedures
NASCAR announced Wednesday that it will solidify its post-race inspection penalty structure for infractions stemming from the laser inspection station (LIS), eliminating the P2 and P3 levels for those violations. The P4 level for LIS infractions remains, and violations at this level will remain encumbered. NASCAR also announced that neither the No. 78 driven by Martin Truex Jr . nor the No. 48 driven by Jimmie Johnson will be penalized for failing post-race LIS following last Sunday's Chicagoland Speedway . "The use of the LIS platform in post-race was really driven by the industry," NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell said in a teleconference Wednesday evening. "We had everyone collaborating to create the appropriate deterrent penalties if there was a a violation. As we headed toward the Chase, we were asked to further develop an enhanced deterrent for the Chase. ... The important development was the new language surrounding the concept of an encumbered win." Martin Truex Jr . won the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400, assuring the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team of a berth in the Round of 12 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . Jimmie Johnson finished Sunday's race in 12th place in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Both would have been assessed P2-level penalties for infractions discovered in post-race laser inspection. Those penalties were minor in nature, most people in the inudstry would agree, O'Donnell said. But assessing both teams penalties would be inherently unfair given the Chase structure. So NASCAR decided not to penalize either team and going forward will punish only P4-level post-race inspection infractions, which would be considered egregious. "This was the most fair decision we could get to," said O'Donnell, explaining that a points penalty assessed to a team still trying to get into the next round of the Chase would have dramatically different effects than on a team that is already locked into the Round of 12 with a win at Chicago. "Those penalties will not have the same impact on the competitors, based on the Chase format and the increased emphasis on win bonuses."
O'Donnell addresses updated post-race LIS procedures
NASCAR's Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, Steve O'Donnell addresses recent updates to NASCAR's post-race laser inspection penalties.
O'Donnell explains the 48 and 78 post-race inspections
NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell joined SiriusXM NASCAR Radio to explain the post-race laser inspection process at Chicagoland Speedway after Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson both failed.
Drivers talk fallout from chippy Richmond race
RELATED: O'Donnell discusses contact between Newman, Stewart CHICAGO -- Sometimes putting the regular season to rest also means burying the bygone grudges, clearing the decks of any lingering hard feelings as the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs becomes the prime focus. For the 16 playoff-eligible drivers, some differences have been aired out -- and some not -- after an especially chippy regular-season finale last weekend at Richmond International Raceway that left both teammates and old rivals at odds with each other. For all concerned, it's back to business this weekend with another brand of intensity in Sunday's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM), the first event of the 10-race Chase for the championship at Chicagoland Speedway . One on-track altercation that bubbled into post-race bitterness in televised interviews will require NASCAR competition officials to mediate the disagreement to make sure it goes no further. NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell said Monday that he expects to consult with Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman regarding their late-race run-in last Saturday night. RELATED: Photos of the big wreck at Richmond Stewart said Thursday from the annual Ready. Set. Chase. launch events at Chicago's Bridgeport Art Center that he expected the meeting to be preemptive in nature, to keep any animosity from festering after Newman questioned Stewart's anger management and composure in post-race interviews at Richmond. "I haven't heard anything from him," Stewart said of his former teammate as he enters the final Chase of his Sprint Cup driving career, "but it's like I said, it would be easy to take it personal. But I mean, that was the deciding factor in his season whether he was going to make the Chase or not. So we've been friends a long time, we've been teammates and I respect him a lot. "It's a high-pressure moment, and I've been in those, too, and I've said things. Whether he meant to say it or not or whether he still believes it or not, that's up to him, but that moment is a hard moment for any of us. It's tough in that scenario." Newman, who was the highest-ranking driver to miss the Chase field, also played a role in a small but curious dust-up between Hendrick Motorsports teammates. Newman forced his way into a three-wide battle early on at Richmond, nudging Jeff Gordon -- Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s substitute in the No. 88 Chevrolet -- into rookie Chase Elliott , Gordon's successor in the No. 24 Chevy. WATCH: Elliott finds the wall after contact with Gordon That slight issue, Elliott indicated, appears to be resolved. "He sent me a text after the race. I knew it wasn't his fault," Elliott said. "I wasn't concerned with it at all. It was a racing deal and you hate, of course, it had to be two teammates and it had to be myself and Jeff, but at the end of the day, we both get it and our teams get it. ... He did give me an apology, but it was not necessary whatsoever." One on-again, off-again conflict among Matt Kenseth and Team Penske 's Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano also resurfaced at Richmond. Kenseth and Keselowski have been involved in far bigger rhubarbs than the contact that flared up last weekend, but a certain testy tinge laced Kenseth's post-race interview. Each shared common ground in Thursday's pre-Chase media rounds, focusing on securing their second premier-series championship and minimizing any potential bad blood between the two. "I don't want to play the conversation game," Keselowski said. "I don't think I need to have a whole media discussion about any time there's a small bump on the race track, whether it's me or somebody else. It's just how racing's going to be. When it's egregious and there's things that happen, that's one thing. (Expletive) just happens, (expletive) just happens and we don't have to play drama queen for everything. That's kind of how I feel about it." WATCH: Kenseth frustrated with Keselowski at Richmond Kenseth offered a flat "no" when asked if Team Penske 's two-driver stable was successfully playing mind games with him. "We didn't really talk about it and I didn't really re-watch any of that, so I don't know," Kenseth said in response to Keselowski's post-race remarks. "We didn't really talk about it." RELATED: Meet all 16 Chase drivers Two more teammates -- Richard Childress Racing 's Austin Dillon and Paul Menard -- had a chance to settle their squabble by sharing a ride back to North Carolina on the team plane. Dillon, who had on-track clashes for running room with Menard in successive weeks, found an empty seat on the plane beside his teammate and took it. "Well, I'm learning a lot about relationships -- I'm engaged," said Dillon, who is prepping for his first Chase this season. "And communication is everything, and communicating with him was a good start to it. I've always had a good relationship with Paul. We both love a lot of the same things -- we love the outdoors, we love racing. "I just wanted to tell him, 'Hey, I'm not doing this on purpose or any certain way. I'm just racing hard,' and he said the same thing." The hard racing -- and potentially the tensions that accompany it -- are expected to continue over the next 10 weeks, starting this weekend in Chicagoland. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
O'Donnell talks Newman, Stewart after Richmond
NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell joined SiriusXM NASCAR Radio to talk about Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart's on track collision and post-race interviews at Richmond International Raceway.
A Year Later: Kenseth Honors Steve Byrnes' Family
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Matt Kenseth honors the family of Steve Byrnes one year after his win in the 2015 Food City 500 In Support of Steve Byrnes and Stand Up To Cancer at Bristol Motor Speedway.
O'Donnell comments on risk vs. reward with penalties
NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell joined SiriusXM NASCAR Radio to explain his views on failed post-race inspections and how teams could exploit the risk vs. reward.
Junior and others 'pulling for Steve'
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon send their well wishes to FOX Sports’ Steve Byrnes and Elliott Sadler shares the story of how he became close friends with Byrnes.
Steve Byrnes honored with NMPA Spirit Award
Longtime NASCAR broadcaster named first quarter recipient posthumously DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Steve Byrnes, a highly respected television broadcaster who covered motorsports for over 30 years, has been awarded the NMPA Spirit Award for the first quarter of 2015 by the members of the National Motorsports Press Association. The award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Byrnes began his broadcasting career in 1982 and joined Fox Sports in 2001. He served as a pit road reporter for Fox's coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing from 2001-2014 and most recently anchored coverage of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races and co-hosted the NASCAR Race Hub program on Fox Sports 1. Byrnes' 32-year career as a member of the motorsports media included coverage of racing for CBS, TNN, WTBS and Fox networks. March's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway was named the " Food City 500 In Support Of Steve Byrnes & Stand Up To Cancer," honoring Steve's battle against head and neck cancer. Byrnes passed away two days after the race and is survived by his wife Karen and son Bryson. Byrnes received votes on more than 92 percent of the ballots cast by the NMPA membership. Others receiving votes were sponsor STP and six-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson .