Owner Rick Hendrick agreed.
"I applaud NASCAR for taking the time for a full review," he said. "We're extremely proud to have all four cars in the Chase for the second consecutive season. Jeff and the No. 24 team earned this spot."
Trading favors on and off the track is common in NASCAR, but the series is already trying to rebound from the embarrassment of another team manipulating the outcome at Richmond. Earlier this week, NASCAR punished Michael Waltrip Racing and three of its drivers for shenanigans over the final seven laps and pulled one of them, Martin Truex Jr., out of the Chase field in favor of Ryan Newman.
The Chase begins Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway. NASCAR will hold a mandatory team and driver meeting Saturday to clarify "the rules of the road" moving forward. France would not specify what won't be tolerated going forward.
Newman was on his way to a victory at Richmond that would have given him the final spot in the Chase field when Clint Bowyer spun, bringing out a caution. That set in motion a chain of events that cost Newman the win and the Chase berth. It also cost Gordon a Chase berth and put Truex and Logano into the final two spots.
NASCAR reacted by replacing Truex with Newman in the Chase field and hitting MWR with a $300,000 fine. It suspended general manager Ty Norris indefinitely, while MWR teammates Bowyer, Truex and Brian Vickers were docked 50 points each, and their crew chiefs were placed on probation through the end of the year.
Bowyer has denied the spin was deliberate. NASCAR could only prove one action -- radio communication between Norris and Vickers in which a confused Vickers was told to pit as the field went green with three laps to go. The call was an effort to give Logano position on the track to pass Gordon in the standings and knock Gordon out of the Chase so that Truex could gain a wild-card berth.
Bowyer wasn't really penalized -- NASCAR said it couldn't prove his spin was intentional -- and his 50 points were deducted before seeding for the Chase. Gordon said he felt that Bowyer also deserved to be punished for giving up late track position, just as Vickers did, and he called NASCAR's penalties "half right."
And now he's in the Chase with Bowyer -- but only after the second controversy.
A review of Logano's team radio reveals no communications indicating any discussions with Front Row. Logano is told only right before the final restart that he's racing three cars for position, one of which is Gilliland.
Penske and Front Row are both Ford teams and considered partners, and statistics analyzed by AP also show that after Logano passed him, Gilliland's lap times dropped off by almost 1 second from the times he was running prior to the radio exchange.
The radio exchanges for Front Row were certainly suggestive.
Gilliland's spotter tells his crew that Logano's team wanted Gilliland's spot on the track "and they said they'd probably be able to help us in the future," according to the review.
"You tell that spotter up there it better pay big," replies someone believed to be Gilliland crew chief Frank Kerr.
"Yeah, it's not the spotter, it's the whole committee," the spotter says.
"The committee knows what I've been asking for," Kerr says.
"We've got the big dog and all of his cronies," the spotter replies, a possible reference to Roger Penske, who watches NASCAR races from the spotter stand.
Kerr then says: "Travis knows what I've been asking for," an apparent reference to Penske Racing competition director Travis Geisler.
A short time later, Logano passed Gilliland on a restart and finished 22nd -- one spot ahead of Gilliland and good enough for a Chase berth.
"Good job, good job, man," the spotter says. "Hopefully we'll get something out of that."
Front Row spokesman Jeff Dennison has said the team did not heed a Penske request to give Logano track position before the final restart. Penkse team President Tim Cindric told SiriusXM "there was no conspiracy, there was no bribe" and that Penske was not involved.
QUALIFYING: Penske Racing swept the front row in qualifying for the first race of the Chase, with Joey Logano winning the pole hours after NASCAR placed his team on probation for allegedly cutting a deal with another organization to help him make the championship field.
Logano turned a lap at 189.414 mph around Chicagoland Speedway on Friday to bump teammate and defending NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski. Keselowski did not qualify for the Chase but Logano did make it in last Saturday night at Richmond.
Juan Pablo Montoya qualified third and was followed by Kasey Kahne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Jeff Gordon will start sixth on Sunday in the first race of the Chase and will be eligible for his fifth championship after NASCAR made him eligible earlier in the day.