Paul Menard and his Richard Childress Racing team look set to escape punishment after NASCAR reviewed evidence from Menard's spin in the closing laps of last week's race at Richmond.
NASCAR president Mike Helton told reporters at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday that officials would have a second look at the incident amid rivals' suspicions that Menard had spun intentionally to cause a caution a few laps from the end, as his RCR teammate Kevin Harvick was struggling to beat Jeff Gordon to victory.
Gordon had taken the lead from Harvick right before the caution waved 15 laps from the finish at Richmond, when the RCR driver struggling with worn rear tires. As the leaders pitted during the caution, Harvick came out of the pits leading the field and then kept his rivals at bay to claim his fourth win of the season.
Having reviewed the radio conversations between Menard and his team from last week's event, a NASCAR spokesman said on Saturday that officials did not find anything inappropriate.
On Friday, Menard said he was on the track despite being several laps down and with a damaged car to try to retaliate against Matt Kenseth, with whom he had contact earlier in the race.
"It's behind me," said Menard about the controversy following Saturday's qualifying at Chicagoland Speedway, where he was second fastest. "If they had something, I'd love to see it because I don't know what we would have done. But I talked to [race director] David Hoots a little earlier and we didn't talk about that at all. We just talked about racing. So, if they said that, I'm glad it's behind us and we're moving forward."
Harvick starts the Chase tied on points with leader Kyle Busch due to his four wins during the regular season, while Gordon ranks third, three points behind entering Sunday's playoff opener.