JOLIET, Ill. — Jeff Gordon was added to the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship Friday when NASCAR chairman Brian France used his power to make an unprecedented expansion to the field after two separate investigations into radio chatter revealed numerous instances of race manipulation.
France determined Gordon did not have a fair chance to race his way into the 12-driver field last Saturday night at Richmond because of the actions of at least three organizations over the closing laps at Richmond.
The four-time NASCAR champion was bumped from eligibility by Joey Logano, who unknowingly received assistance from two Michael Waltrip Racing drivers trying to aid their teammate. Logano also picked up another track position when David Gilliland apparently moved aside when Gilliland's team tried to bargain with Penske Racing over the radio.
“Too many things altered the event and gave an unfair disadvantage to Jeff and his team,” France said. “More than anything it's just the right thing to do. There were just too many things that went on Saturday night.”
It was a stunning conclusion to a surreal week for NASCAR, which should have been celebrating Sunday's start of the Chase at Chicagoland Speedway.
Instead, the sanctioning body has been scrambling to uncover who did what and why since Clint Bowyer spun his car with seven laps remaining at Richmond as 10 drivers jockeyed for the five available spots in the Chase.
Indians 3, White Sox 1
CHICAGO — Danny Salazar struck out nine in 3 2-3 innings, Ryan Raburn hit an RBI double and the Cleveland Indians beat the White Sox 3-1 on Friday, beating the White Sox for the 10th time in a row this season.
Salazar's pitch count was limited to 85, and after allowing Dayan Viciedo's single with two outs on his 78th pitch, he was replaced by Nick Hagadone with runners on first and third. The win got Cleveland to within a game of Tampa Bay for the second AL wild-card spot, before the Rays played Friday night.
Bryan Shaw (4-3) threw two scoreless innings for the win.
Hector Santiago (4-9) remained winless since Aug. 18 for Chicago, going four-plus innings and giving up three runs and six hits while walking three.
Furyk shoots 59 in Illinois
LAKE FOREST, Ill. — With a shot at golf’s magic number, Jim Furyk had no trouble finishing the job.
Furyk birdied two of his last three holes Friday in the BMW Championship to become the sixth player in PGA Tour history to shoot a 59. Needing a birdie on the par-4 ninth hole at Conway Farms, he stuffed a gap wedge into just over 3 feet and calmly knocked it in.
“A very cool card,” Furyk said as he gazed at the scores, which included an eagle when he holed out with a 9-iron.
It was a day he won’t forget, in the same town — the Chicago suburbs, anyway — where he won his lone major at the U.S. Open in 2003.
Standing in the ninth fairway at Conway Farms, 103 yards from a front pin, Furyk didn’t want to let his chance get away from him.
“I said, 'How many opportunities are you going to have in life to do this again?”’ he said. “Got to take advantage of it. Tried to knock it in there tight and make it as easy on yourself as you can.”
The gallery lined both sides of the fairway about 150 yards down from the green and gave him a huge ovation when he walked onto the green. One fan screamed out, “Jimmy, I’ll give it to you!” Furyk smiled and waved at him.