On Sunday afternoon, a brawl broke out during the Sprint Cup race in Phoenix at the AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. The fight started when Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer bumped during the 305th lap of the race. Then, Gordon shoved Bowyer into the wall, which also wrecked Joey Lagano and forced a stoppage of the race, according to the Washington Post. A brawl then ensued between Gordon, his pit crew, Bowyer, his pit crew and others on the track.
“Things just got escalated over the year, and I’d just had it,” Gordon 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.”
NASCAR did not take long to issue its punishments for the brawl either. Gordon was fined $100,000 and docked 25 Sprint Cup points for causing the wreck and ultimately the brawl. Gordon is also on probation until December 31.
“There’s no doubt that a unique set of circumstances combined with a championship battle on the line resulted in raw emotions coming into play,” Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice-president of competition, said in a statement. “We consider the penalties appropriate and those involved understand our decision and we expect them to abide by them.”
The crew chief for Bowyer was fined $25,000 for not being able to control his pit crew. Gordon’s crew chief, Alan Gustafson, was given probation for the remainder of the year.
“I wanted to take the points lead by winning a race and not relying on a failure,” Brad Keselowski said. “I’m more just disappointed in the quality of racing that we saw. I thought it was absolutely ridiculous, and I was ashamed to be a part of it.”
Keselowski went on an incentive-laden rant following the race because he was criticized by drivers for bumping into Jimmie Johnson last week. He was issued a fine of $25,000 for having his cell phone in the car with him and tweeting during the red flag that was drawn with two laps remaining in the race.
”It’s the double standard that I spent a whole week being bashed by a half-dozen drivers about racing hard at Texas and how I’m out of control and have a death wish,” he said. ”These guys just tried to kill each other … they should be ashamed. It’s embarrassing.”
Gordon said that he finally exploded as a result of incidents that occurred over the course of the year involving Bowyer wrecking him and his teammate Johnson back at Martinsville. “Clint has run into me numerous times, wrecked me, and he got into me on the back straightaway and pretty much ruined our day,” Gordon said. “I’ve had it, fed up with it, and I got him back.”
In regards to the race this coming weekend, Bowyer said, “We’ll just have to see.” Bowyer did offer an apology for the brawl, saying that it “makes us look like a bunch of retards.”