When Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon made contact in the closing laps at Phoenix, Gordon was overcome by a grudge he’d been carrying at least seven months.
The four-time NASCAR champion retaliated by intentionally wrecking Bowyer, triggering a garage-area melee.
Gordon’s reputation took a hit among his peers and he was fined $100,000 by NASCAR. But he avoided suspension and will race Sunday in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla., where he’ll celebrate his 20th anniversary with sponsor DuPont and Hendrick Motorsports.
He admitted Friday that DuPont had initial concerns NASCAR would park him this weekend for his actions at Phoenix, but he never worried he wouldn’t race at Homestead and he’s not sorry for wrecking Bowyer.
“The thing that I regret and the thing that I messed up on is that I allowed my anger and my emotions to put me in a position to make a bad choice,” Gordon said.
“I felt like Clint needed to be dealt with, but that wasn’t the right way to go about it, certainly not the right time. And what I hate most about it is that other guys were involved with it and it affected their day.”
The wreck collected Joey Logano and Aric Almirola, and championship points leader Brad Keselowski had to dodge his way around the accident scene. It also triggered a brawl in the garage between Gordon’s crew and Bowyer’s crew that has received as much attention as the championship race between Keselowski and five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson.
Logano wins pole
Joey Logano won the pole for NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, with championship contenders Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson not far behind.
Keselowski will start third Sunday in the 400-mile race. He takes a 20-point lead into the finale over five-time champion Johnson.
Keselowski only needs to finish 15th or better – or 16th or better if he leads at least one lap, and 17th or better if he leads the most laps – to win a first Cup championship for himself and team owner Roger Penske. Johnson will start 10th.
Buescher wins Trucks race
James Buescher won NASCAR’s Truck Series championship by avoiding trouble in the season finale.
Cale Gale won the 200-mile race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, edging Kyle Busch at the line as both trucks seemed glued together after hard contact.
The more significant celebration in Victory Lane, though, was saved for Buescher.
Ty Dillon was in position to pull off an upset with three laps remaining – he was running second and just a point behind – but made contact with Kyle Larson.
Buescher was far enough behind Dillon and Larson that he was able to drive around the wreckage.