On-Track Accident Leads To NASCAR Fight In Garage

NASCAR officials say it’s too early to predict whether Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer or crew members will be suspended for being involved in fights following a wreck between the two racers’ wreck late in Sunday’s race at Phoenix International Raceway.

“Your best decisions are made sometime after Sunday night, maybe potentially Monday or Tuesday,” vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said after meeting with drivers and crew members from both teams.

NASCAR met with Gordon, Bowyer and others in the NASCAR hauler after the race to discuss what happened on the track and off it.

On the track, according to Bowyer and his spotter, Gordon held up to wreck him. He said it was “pretty embarrassing for a four-time champion and what I consider one of the best this sport’s ever seen … to act like that is just completely ridiculous.”

Gordon said his response was an accumulation of frustration from incidents throughout the year, beginning when Bowyer wrecked him and teammate Jimmie Johnson at Martinsville.

“Clint has run into me numerous times, wrecked me, and he got into me on the back straightaway and pretty much ruined our day,” Gordon said. “I’ve had it, fed up with it, and I got him back.”

The incident escalated on pit road, first with members of Bowyer’s team physically going after Gordon and his crew members. Bowyer then sprinted to the garage to take on members of Gordon’s crew at the No. 24 hauler.

“There’s a lot of things to shift through on and off the racetrack,” Pemberton said. “We’ll continue to talk and work things out amongst the teams. We’ll continue to try to get everybody back calmed down and get it back to a good working situation for everybody.”

Bowyer didn’t rule out retaliating against Gordon in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“We’ll just have to see,” he said.

A year ago, NASCAR parked Kyle Busch for the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races at Texas after he intentionally wrecked Ron Hornaday Jr.  under caution in the Truck Series race.

Asked if he was worried about a potential penalty, Gordon said. “They’ve got to do what they’ve got to do, and I guess I had to do what I had to do.”

While Pemberton was vague on potential penalties that typically follow such an incident, he defended NASCAR’s decision not to throw a caution when Danica Patrick hit the wall and spilled oil on the track during the ensuing green-white-checkered finish.

“When she got up there, at the time she came all the way around and she was out of harm’s way,” Pemberton said. “We didn’t see any fluid or anything. She rode around on the apron, and when she pulled up on the racetrack there was smoke. It looked like tire smoke.

“It’s easy to look back on it, obviously, and wish that you did something different. But at the time it didn’t appear like there was any fluid that was coming out of the car.”

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