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Phoenix 'not my proudest moment' admits Gordon

After a week to reflect on how the race at Phoenix ended, Jeff Gordon admits to regrets about how and when he took out Clint Bowyer - but insisted that Bowyer had it coming anyway.
Four-time NASCAR Cup champion Jeff Gordon has admitted to regrets about his actions last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, which saw him retaliate against Clint Bowyer with a move that not only wiped out both cars but also caught up Joey Logano and Aric Almirola in the wreck in the closing laps of the penultimate race of the year.

"You know, I've been through a lot of moments throughout my career, some that I was more proud of than others," said Gordon at Homestead-Miami on Friday. "This is definitely not one of my proudest moments, but I also understand what kind of led up to it and I stand by that."

Gordon was fined $100,000, put on probation and docked 25pts in the drivers' and owners' championships for his actions at Phoenix, and was lucky not to be benched altogether for the season finale. The obvious immediate cause of the dispute was contact between the two which left Gordon with a flat tyre and out of the race after having been up in the top six with just a dozen laps remaining in last weekend's race.

"There was absolutely no reason to run into me," insisted Gordon. "It's not just a one‑way street. We were racing for fourth in points in that race, and so there was a lot on the line for us as well as for them, and so I think that it just wasn't very smart of Clint to run into me coming off of turn 2 on the straightaway, almost cut my left rear tyre down - and know that we had past history this year."

It fell to car owner Rick Hendrick to explain that reference to the real long-term cause of last weekend's conflict, which went a lot further back all the way to Martinsville in April when Bowyer caused Gordon and his team mate Jimmie Johnson to wreck.

"I don't expect anybody in here to really understand this as much as maybe Jeff and I do, but at Martinsville this year, we was going for our 200th win," said Hendrick, who lost his brother, son and two nieces in a plane crash at Martinsville in 2004 - which had made the prospect of a 200th win there all the more emotional for all involved.

"The 200th win at Martinsville meant so much to all of us because we lost so much there, admitted Hendrick. "And that was taken away from us. Both of our cars were wrecked on the last lap and next‑to‑last lap and it was by the #15 car ... I have never hurt as bad in my life leaving the racetrack as I did that day. It took me a week or so to get over it just because we had it in our grasp. And that's just emotions that we carry and nobody else.

"You didn't see our guys go down there and fight in the pits; we didn't do any of that," he added, referring to the way that Bowyer's Michael Waltrip Racing crew had run down pit lane to pounce on Gordon as he got out of his wrecked car at Phoenix.

"I think that situation along with some other things that happened along the way, you know, you don't forget it," Hendrick said. " What happened happened, and I agree with Jeff, I like Michael Waltrip, I like Rob Kauffman, I like Richard Petty, I like Clint Bowyer, I like all those guys.




Related Pictures

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Jimmie Johnson, left, driver of the #48 Lowe`s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, talks with Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 10, 2012, in Avondale, Ariz. (Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Clint Bowyer  driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, talks with crew chief Brian Pattie on pit road after an incident with Jeff Gordon driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 11, 2012 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 9, 2012, in Avondale, Ariz. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet SS, stops in his pit on his way to a fifth place finish Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Elliott takes over the #24 car from retired driver Jeff Gordon.  (Photo by Ashley R Dickerson for Chevy Racing)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, drives during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 1, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, signs the Coors Light Pole Award backdrop after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 1, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 1, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 1, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s / Superman Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s / Superman Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 American Ethanol Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 18, 2016 in Fontana, California.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, celebrates his eighth Phoenix win with his crew Sunday, March 13, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. He won by a hundredth of a second, closest finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup History. This was Harvick`s 500th consecutive series start, a feat accomplished only by 14 others throughout the history of NASCAR.  (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to his eighth Phoenix win with Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS who finished in sixth place Sunday, March 13, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Harvick won by a hundredth of a second, closest finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup History. This was his 500th consecutive series start, a feat accomplished only by 14 others throughout the history of NASCAR. (Photo by Andrew Coppley for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, takes the chequered flag for his eighth Phoenix win Sunday, March 13, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. He won by a hundredth of a second, closest finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup History. This was Harvick`s 500th consecutive series start, a feat accomplished only by 14 others throughout the history of NASCAR. (Photo by Andrew Coppley for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, celebrates his eighth Phoenix win Sunday, March 13, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. He won by a hundredth of a second, closest finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup History. This was Harvick`s 500th consecutive series start, a feat accomplished only by 14 others throughout the history of NASCAR. (Photo by Gregg Ellman for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, leads Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy / Haas Automation Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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Just Observing - Unregistered

November 18, 2012 6:01 AM

Direct quote from Gordon- "I think everybody thinks I just intentionally went down there and wrecked him, and that's not the case," he insisted. "I wanted to make his life really miserable, and I wanted to make my car really, really wide, but I wasn't expecting him to go diving down the inside on the apron, and when he did, it caused us to hook and caused what ended up being a terrible accident." I guess you could read that another way... but I tend to trust my eyes and my brain more than that.

Just Observing - Unregistered

November 17, 2012 4:27 PM

I just watched this race on replay and 100% agree that this is pathetic situation, but people need to take a step back and let the emotions settle a bit. I'm not a NASCAR "Fan" so I have no vested interest in saying any of this but Gordon did not "wreck" Boyer... he may (as he has admitted) have wanted to make his car as in the way as possible but he made no deliberate moves etc to hit Boyer's car. IMO Boyer made the mistake of going onto the apron to go around Gordon as misjudged his position because it is HIS car doing most of the moving around on the track



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