NASCAR Controversy: Chase Expanded to 13 Drivers to Include Jeff Gordon

Sep 14, 2013 11:21 AM EDT | Matt Mercuro

NASCAR shocked the racing world on Sept. 13 when it added Jeff Gordon as the 13th driver in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, a position that didn't exist before this week.

"It's been a roller coaster ride of emotions this week," said Gordon, according to USA Today. "This is an unprecedented set of circumstances. I'm extremely happy for this. We're proud to be in it. An incredible set of opportunities now lie on our shoulders to show we belong in the Chase."

The decision has fans and critics of the sport questioning NASCAR's integrity, and even Gordon's Hendrik Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson didn't seem pleased with the decision.

"I'm very happy that Jeff is in the Chase," Johnson said, according to USA Today. "But in my opinion, there should be 12 cars. One in, one out should be the deal. It's not."

Gordon was awarded a spot by NASCAR Chairman Brian France on Sept. 13, saying he believed Gordon was at a disadvantage and a victim of "foul play" during last Saturday's Chase-setting race at Richmond International Raceway.

Another Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr., seemed confused when he was asked about Gordon being added.

"I was probably just as surprised as anybody that anything happened, because we're so far into the week," Earnhardt Jr. said, according to USA Today. "It's just really extraordinary and unprecedented. I don't know what's fair anymore, you know what I mean?"

Driver Martin Truex Jr. wasn't just disappointed with NASCAR's decision, he's furious, since he was kicked out of the Chase earlier this week and replaced with Ryan Newman.

Truex Jr. was replaced as part of the first NASCAR penalty handed down this week to Michael Waltrip Racing for fixing the Richmond race.

"I'm not even sure what to say at this point," said Truex, according to USA Today. "I'm kind of at a loss for words. They kick me out to make a spot for somebody and then they don't do the same for the other guys.

"It's just unfair and (there's) nothing I can do about it."

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