Jeff Gluck, USA TODAY Sports
NASCAR said there was no conclusive evidence Clint Bowyer did anything wrong during Saturday night's race in issuing its biggest penalties in history Monday night.
But but that didn't stop Bowyer from calling Ryan Newman to apologize Monday night.
Newman told ESPN's SportsCenter that Bowyer called him 10 minutes after learning the No. 39 team would be installed into the Chase for the Sprint Cup after Bowyer's Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. dropped out due to a 50-point penalty.
On the apology call, Bowyer "told me he'd been sick to his stomach the last two days," Newman said.
Newman did not say specifically what Bowyer apologized for, only that he was "frustrated in his situation."
"He had a car that could win the race and when the caution came out, he got a lap down and lost his chance and he was frustrated," Newman said. "We make poor decisions sometimes when we're frustrated. I commend him for calling me as a competitor and as a friend -- somebody I would have never thought made that decision but did."
Bowyer spun out with seven laps to go during Saturday night's race at Richmond, thwarting a potential win and wild card Chase berth for Newman.
Newman was out of the Chase until NASCAR issued a record-setting penalty late Monday night, including 50-point penalties for all three MWR cars, a $300,000 fine and the indefinite suspension of general manager Ty Norris.
On Tuesday, MWR tweeted that Bowyer, whose in-race radio command to "Itch it" helped spark the intentional spin conspiracy talk, is suffering from poison oak and received a steroid shot at NASCAR's care center before the race.
The outcome of the penalty left Newman "really shocked," he said.
"I don't know if there was a right or wrong decision, but there is a stand that needs to be taken and I commend them for that," he added.
Bowyer and Newman are scheduled to go on a hunt together in Wyoming later this month, and Newman said he was relieved to have some of the tension dissipate.
"I was hoping we could get through this and I'm thinking that we are," he said.