Blows thrown as Chase enters final round - - Columbia, South Carolina

NASCAR NOTES: Blows thrown as Chase enters final round

Photo Credits: Tom Pennington/Getty Images Photo Credits: Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Glenn Campbell - "The Lugnut Cowboy" Glenn Campbell - "The Lugnut Cowboy"

In this politically correct world, people typically suppress their true feelings in an attempt to not offend anyone. The problem is that once those feelings surface, the result may not be pretty.

We saw that situation in the closing laps of Sunday's AdvoCare 500 in Phoenix as Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer's teams came to blows after the two drivers tangled on the race track. It was simply a matter of Gordon reaching his breaking point.

"Things just got escalated over the year, and I'd just had it," said Gordon about the message behind their altercation. "Clint has run into me numerous times, wrecked me and he got into me on the back straightaway and pretty much ruined our day. I've had it, fed up with it and I got him back."

The accident ended Bowyer's chance at a Cup Series Championship and gave him little to race for in next week's season finale.

When asked if he was worried about retaliation, Gordon replied, "They've got to do what they've got to do, and I guess I had to do what I had to do."

The aftermath of the brawl in the garage area between the two race teams has brought mixed reaction from fans and participants. Depending on which side you fall, you either love the free expression of emotion or see it as a black mark on the sport.

Race winner Kevin Harvick has been virtually lost in the fallout from the Gordon-Bowyer tussle but wasn't afraid of adding his two cents when asked.

"The sport was made on fights. We should have more fights. I like fights," commented Harvick on all the fuss. "They're not always fun to be in. Sometimes you're on the wrong end, but fights are what made NASCAR what it is."

New points leader Brad Keselowski has been involved in several issues of his own over his short career, but he prefers to keep the altercations on a professional basis.

"The sport needs hard racing, it needs people that go for broke, try to win races and put it all out there on the line," said Keselowski after the event. "It doesn't need a bunch of people that have anger issues."

I can say this. My first assignment as a reporter was in Atlanta in 1992, which just happened to be Jeff Gordon's first Cup start. I've seen him take many speed bumps over the years and react in an amazingly professional manner. His baggage with Bowyer had to be weighing heavy on his emotions for him to react in such a manner. That doesn't make it right but, I believe that there is more to the story than what happened Sunday.

I'm comfortable that NASCAR will surely sort everything out over the next few days and don't be surprised if penalties and/or suspensions are not part of the solution. In either case, I liked both Gordon and Bowyer before the incident and I'll still be a fan of both going forward.

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