Jeff Gordon has received a $100,000 fine and had 25pts deducted from his championship total for his on-track retaliation against Clint Bowyer which wrecked both cars and also ended the races of Joey Logano and Aric Almirola near the finish of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway.
Gordon had received a flat tyre after an earlier encounter with Bowyer, which had wrecked the Hendrick Motorsports driver of a probably top five finish. Gordon then stayed out on track despite a black flag ordering him to pit, expressly so that he could punt Bowyer into a spin on the penultimate scheduled lap of the race.
"I take responsibility for my actions on the race track," said Gordon in a statement issued by the team. "I accept NASCAR's decision and look forward to ending the season on a high note at Homestead."
As well as the fine and points deduction, Gordon will also be on probation through to the end of the year, although in practice the season ends next week with the finale at Homestead-Miami.
Many in the NASCAR paddock had called for the four-time champion to be suspended from the forthcoming race for his dangerous actions, as Kyle Busch was last year at Texas after he spun Ron Hornaday Jr. out in a similar act of retaliation at Texas Motor Speedway.
However, whereas Busch had a previous track record of similar offences, Gordon is widely seen as a clean driver with few past misdemeanours and so NASCAR decided not to impose such a sanction on his on this occasion.
Team owner Rick Hendrick also loses 25pts for the incident, while crew chief Alan Gustafson was placed on probation until December 31 since under NASCAR rules the crew chief assumes responsibility for the actions of his driver, car owner and team members.
"I've always respected Jeff for standing his ground," said Hendrick. "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."
There were further penalties, with Bowyer's crew chief also receiving a $25,000 fine and a probation for the rest of 2012, after chaotic scenes in the pit lane which saw many of the crew of the #15 Michael Waltrip Racing car jump on Gordon as he climbed out of his car.