CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Ty Norris’ days of working as a spotter for Michael Waltrip Racing are over.
Norris said Thursday he will no longer be spotting on the stand for MWR following a scandal last season that rocked NASCAR and led to his suspension.
Norris was recently reinstated by NASCAR after serving a four-month suspension for his role in attempting to manipulate the outcome of last September’s race at Richmond to get Martin Truex Jr. into the 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field.
Norris said his new title with MWR will be executive vice president of business, and his role at the race track will be pretty much remain the same _ recruiting drivers and dealing with sponsors on the business side. He just won’t have any communication with the drivers on strategy during the race.
“It’s not upsetting at all,” Norris said. “I thought I was retired from it already.”
Norris was caught on the radio Sept. 7, 2013, instructing MWR driver Brian Vickers to pit at Richmond to help his teammate Truex make the Chase.
After an investigation, NASCAR bounced Truex out of the Chase in favor of Ryan Newman. MWR was fined $300,000 for manipulating the outcome of the race, and all three crew chiefs for the organization were placed on probation for the rest of the season. MWR also lost a major sponsorship deal with NAPA.
NASCAR later expanded the Chase field to 13 drivers to include Jeff Gordon and issued new rules banning digital radios and more than one team member per car on the spotter stand.
When asked if NASCAR was trying to send a message, Norris said: “I think that’s pretty clear.”
Norris said people in the sport have taken notice.
“You respect history, you learn from history and you do everything you can in order to make history,” Norris said. “I think if anyone has respected the history and has learned from our history, you won’t see any of that going on in the future.”
While he is now allowed to return to the track, Norris remains on indefinite probation.
Waltrip remains supportive of Norris, who has spent nearly a quarter century of his life working in racing.
“Ty has been an integral part of Michael Waltrip Racing since I hired him in 2005 when I began down this road,” Waltrip said. “He’s really connected in the sport and is passionate about NASCAR and Michael Waltrip Racing. He is the key interface between the sponsors and the team. He also does a lot of recruiting and if there is someone looking for a position he is certainly aware of it.”
With the scandal behind them, MWR is looking to move on.
“We’ve closed the book,” Waltrip said. “Only a fool would trip over something that is behind him. So we are focused on the future and ready to win races.”
Norris, for one, is happy to have last year behind him.
“It’s always been about the future and what’s ahead,” Norris said. “You have to look out the windshield. It’s about 2014 and 2015 and the future and building back up. We did a lot of work to become a winning organization and we have a lot of work to do again.”
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