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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)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, holds his daughter, Lydia Sunday, November 22, 2015 before final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Johnson and other Jeff Gordon teammates at Hendrick Motorsports wore tribute hats to honor the retiring Chevy driver prior to the start of the race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to a sixth place finish Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Gordon finishes third in the Chase for the Cup Championship. This was Gordon`s last race as a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. He has made 796 consecutive Cup Series starts, earned 93 wins, and 81 poles - all behind the wheel of Chevrolets. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick finishes as the runner-up in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place, and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision finishes in twelfth place Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. This Chevrolet drivers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th (respectively) in the Chase of the Cup Championship. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing Team battled back from a bad re-start after the first caution of the race to finish 17th in the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Campbell Marketing)
Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Former racing driver Mario Andretti, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton pose during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
A general view as cars pit during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with a burnout after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with his team after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/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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