NASCAR’s Sunday race at Phoenix looked more like a WWE wrestling event than a professional car race.
“The sport was made on fights. We should have more fights. I like fights,” driver Kevin Harvick said after the race regarding the mayhem. “They’re not always fun to be in, sometimes you’re on the wrong end, but fights are what made NASCAR what it is.”
He’s talking about the all-out brawl that broke out between legendary driver Jeff Gordon and the crew of Clint Bowyer.
It began as the field closed in on what should have been the final lap and Gordon slowed his car to wait for Bowyer so he could intentionally wreck him as retaliation for several weeks of on-track contact between the two.
After Gordon climbed from his car in the garage, he appeared to be jumped from behind by one of Bowyer’s crew members. It led to a full brawl between the crews, with Bowyer sprinting from his car to join the fracas. Bowyer was held back by NASCAR officials from entering Gordon’s hauler.
And it was all caught on video:
“It’s pretty embarrassing,” Bowyer said. “For a four-time champion, and what I consider one of the best this sport’s ever seen to act like this is pretty ridiculous.”
Both drivers and their crew chiefs were called to the NASCAR hauler for a meeting with series officials, and police officers stood outside on guard.
Gordon said he’s had problems with Bowyer all season and had reached his limit.
“Things just got escalated over the year, and I’d just had it,” he said. “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.”
He said he didn’t know what penalties might be coming from NASCAR.
“They’ve got to do what they’ve got to do, and I guess I had to do what,” he said.
NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said the situation would be looked at further this week.
“That was surely a shame,” he said. “We’ll continue to try to get everybody back calm down and back to a working situation.”