NASCAR issued several penalties on Monday, relating to a late-race incident at Phoenix International Speedway during the Advocare 200 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday. Jeff Gordon intentionally wrecked Clint Bowyer with two laps to go in the race because of frustration with Bowyer that Gordon said had been brewing for quite some time. The incident resulted in several crew members from both teams brawling in the garage.
“I take responsibility for my actions on the racetrack,” Gordon said. “I accept NASCAR’s decision and look forward to ending the season on a high note at Homestead.”
Gordon was cited for violation of section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing — altercation with another competitor on the race track during the race) of the NASCAR rule book. As a result, he was fined $100,000, docked 25 championship driver points and placed on probation until the end of the year. His car owner, Rick Hendrick, also lost 25 car owner points.
Gordon’s crew chief, Alan Gustafson, was cited for violation of section 9-4A (at all events, crew chief assumes responsibility for his driver, car owner and team members). As a result, Gustafson was put on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.
“I”ve always respected Jeff for standing his ground,” Gordon’s car owner Rick Hendrick said. “We also respect that NASCAR needs to police the sport and send a message when situations like this occur. It’s been a great year, and we’re going to put our focus on finishing in a positive way this weekend.”
Hendrick Motorsports released the following statement in response to the penalties:
“Hendrick Motorsports will not appeal sanctions announced today by NASCAR regarding the No. 24 Sprint Cup Series team and driver Jeff Gordon.”
Brian Pattie, Bowyer’s crew chief, was found to be in violation of sections 12-1 and 9-4A of the rule book. He was fined $25,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31.
Michael Waltrip Racing, the company for which Bowyer drives, issued the following statement on Monday in regards to the behaviior of some of its employees following the incident.
“The goal of Michael Waltrip Racing is to be a championship-level organization both on and off the track. The on-track incident which occurred during Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway was extremely disappointing and brought raw emotions of a long and hard championship battle to the surface. Though we generally cannot control certain actions on the track, the unfortunate reactions off the track Sunday did not live up to the professional standards in which Michael Waltrip Racing expects all of its representatives to live by. We commit to our sponsors, our manufacturer, our fans and NASCAR that we will do so in the future.”
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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