CHARLOTTE, N.C. - NASCAR
officials are investigating whether Robby Gordon intentionally threw debris on
the race track to cause a caution at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"As is the case after any race, we looked at a number of cars, including
Robby Gordon's," spokesman Kerry Tharp said Monday. "Although we didn't find
anything suspicious with the car at the time, we are continuing to review and
discuss this situation."
NASCAR called for a caution about 35 laps from the finish of Sunday's race
because a piece of roll bar padding was on the track. The timing of the caution
severely hurt Jeff Burton, who was a lap down because of an earlier incident and
needed the field to run through a final round of green-flag cautions to catch
Gordon, meanwhile, benefited from the caution because he was the first car
not on the lead lap. That gave him NASCAR's "free pass" to get back on the lead
lap, and he wound up finishing 10th.
Burton, a championship contender, finished 13th and demanded after the race
that NASCAR investigate to determine where the debris came from.
"We were going to be OK and then they threw a caution because of a roll bar
pad," Burton said. "NASCAR should stop every car on pit road and check for roll
bar pads and whoever threw theirs out should be fined 185 points and $100,000
because it was a huge impact on the race.
"It is starting to happen just too often and NASCAR gets on everybody when it
happens. Well, they should find out who did it and penalize them."
That led NBC to review its race footage, which appeared to show the debris
came from Gordon's car. He denied throwing it.
"I definitely did not throw anything out of the window," Gordon told the
Now NASCAR is looking into the issue.
"What we saw at the time was debris on the race track, and for safety
reasons, the caution came out," Tharp said. "We're gathering all the information
we can and we'll make a determination based upon what conclusions we are able to
draw from that."