Race Weekend Central

MNR Issues Penalties to Multiple Drivers Following Championship Race

Two drivers have been suspended and two put on probation for their actions during the Interstate Batteries Monday Night Racing Pro Series season six finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Feb. 13, MNR announced on Wednesday (Feb. 15).

Will Rodgers has suspended for eight MNR events after he nudged Dakotah Curtis from behind, got tagged and spun into the wall, bringing out the caution with less than 40 laps left.

Additionally, the team Hog Tamers Racing, comprising of Rodgers, Leighton Sibille and season six champ Corey Heim, has been put on probation. The caution Rodgers was involved in bunched up the field and allowed Heim and Sibille to battle their title rivals Adam Cabot and Chase Cabre, with Heim eventually coming out on top.

In a separate incident, Collin Fern has been suspended for one event for intentionally wrecking due to his actions against Presley Sorah in turn 3 with about 18 laps left in Monday night’s race.

See also
MNR Review: Corey Heim Crowned Champion, But Not Without Controversy

MNR provided the following statement regarding the penalties on Rodgers and Hog Tamers:

What happened?

On Lap 161 of the Monday Night Racing Pro Series championship race, an incident
between drivers Will Rodgers and Dakotah Curtis resulted in a caution flag being
triggered. After a thorough, multi-day investigation of the incident, MNR leadership determined that Rodgers did not make a sufficient attempt to save his vehicle from turning sideways after the initial contact with Curtis. It is MNR’s belief that Rodgers’ initial contact with Curtis was avoidable and that Rodgers did not make a reasonable attempt to save his car from spinning across the track after the initial contact.

Rodgers’ insufficient attempt at saving his car was deemed as sufficient-enough
evidence to be categorized as an attempt at manipulating the outcome of the race
via drawing a caution flag.

What is the outcome?

Will Rodgers has been given an eight-race suspension effective at the beginning of Monday Night Racing Pro Series season 7 as a result of his actions. Rodgers is also
suspended from any MNR standalone events that take place prior to season 7. Rodgers’ team, Hog Tamers Racing, which includes fellow drivers Leighton Sibille and Corey Heim, have also been placed on a full-season probation that will be effective immediately across all MNR-sanctioned events.

Sibille and Heim, who are teammates to Rodgers and were eligible for the season 6
championship, were also investigated to determine if they had any influence or
connection to Rodgers’ on-track actions. MNR officials ultimately determined
that there was not sufficient evidence that either Sibille and/or Heim had a direct influence on Rodgers’ actions or were involved in any coordination of the outcome.

Monday Night Racing takes any and all attempts at race manipulation seriously and will continue to levy severe penalties up to and including full bans from
future MNR competition
depending on the seriousness and circumstances
surrounding the act.

How does Monday Night Racing define “probation” in this case? Why is the full team receiving a probation?

Probation that is earned as a result of suspected race manipulation should be
understood to mean that any further behavior by any team members during the
probationary period that can reasonably be considered an act of race manipulation, regardless of severity or consequences, will result in an indefinite ban of all team members from Monday Night Racing competition.

As for why Sibille and Heim have been placed on probation, this is a direct
consequence of their connection to Rodgers’ through their team. Drivers who share teams, Discord channels or some other form of connected communication during MNR events are liable to be both investigated and placed on probation if another team member commits any act of race manipulation, regardless of proven evidence of coordination. This is designed to be a deterrent against future instances of manipulation in MNR events.

How does Monday Night Racing determine if race manipulation was
committed by a given driver or team?

When evaluating instances of suspected race manipulation, league leadership
requires sufficient evidence, in the form of either on-track behavior or off-
track radio or text communication
, to validate any claims that a given driver or
team has manipulated the outcome of a given race. The degree to which multi-
person coordination is involved in a given act of manipulation is also factored into
any penalty decisions.

MNR officials ultimately felt that Rodgers’ on-track behavior was sufficient evidence to constitute an attempt at manipulating the outcome of the event. Any evidence that Rodgers’ actions were coordinated with other parties, either within or beyond his team, were not conclusively found.

How is MNR working to prevent future instances of race manipulation
going forward?

MNR will continue to seek all available options to ensure the integrity of its race
events. League leadership is currently evaluating the use of Craig bots to monitor
Discord communication for instances of coordination during future events. More
details on this will be shared ahead of season 7.

MNR will also be instituting team-wide, indefinite bans going forward if sufficient
evidence is found of coordinated acts of race manipulation.”

About the author

Joy joined Frontstretch in 2019 as a NASCAR DraftKings writer, expanding to news and iRacing coverage in 2020. She's currently an assistant editor and involved with photos, social media and news editing. A California native, Joy was raised watching motorsports and started watching NASCAR extensively in 2001. She earned her B.A. degree in Liberal Studies at California State University Bakersfield in 2010.

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