|Gordon gets his revenge -- and then some|
Gordon was fined $100,000 and docked 25 championship points for “actions detrimental to stock car racing.” Oh yeah, he’s on probation for the next two weeks(!) and car owner Rick Hendrick loses 25 owner points. That’s a far cry from the benching Kyle Busch sustained a year ago following a truck race at Texas when he wrecked Ron Hornaday, Jr.
Worse yet, NASCAR shares in the blame for what happened. Events were set in motion when Bowyer nudged Gordon. Gordon nudged Bowyer back to even it up. Only Gordon got too high on the track. NASCAR seemed not to notice Gordon bouncing off the wall, nor the parts spewing out behind the 24 car. The failure by NASCAR to display a caution flag only added to Gordon’s frustration as he waited for Bowyer, then purposely wrecked him, collecting Joey Logano and Aric Almirola in the process and nearly Brad Keselowski.
Sorry about that, Gordon tweeted to the others.
Then things went from bad to worse. And I’m not talking about the WWF exhibition going on back in the garage area. I’m talking about Jeff Burton spinning Danica Patrick. That one has yet to be explained. First Patrick sat motionless on the track. No caution. Then she pulled down across the track. No caution. Then there was the oil slick that trailed behind her car for everyone to see. Well everyone except NASCAR. It was Watkins Glen all over again.
“When she got up in there, at the time she came all the way around and she was out of harm's way,” explained Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition. “We didn't see any fluid or anything, she rode around on the apron, and when she pulled up on the racetrack, there was smoke, it looked like tire smoke. It's easy to look back on it obviously and wish that you did something different, but at the time it didn't appear like there was any fluid that was coming out of the car.”
The drivers weren’t buying it. Again it was a question of consistency. How can NASCAR display a yellow flag for nonexistent debris, they wondered, but ignore cars bouncing off the walls.
“You can't throw the caution flag as fast as you can throw it one time and then just let everybody run through a whole straightaway full of oil,” said race winner Kevin Harvick. “Those are the guys that are going to have to look themselves in the mirror, the guy who's calling the races, and decide if they're doing a good job. There was more oil than there was asphalt, I can guarantee you that, and it was very visible.”
Denny Hamlin, who finished second, had perhaps the best line.
“The 29 (Harvick) almost wrecked coming to the line,” he said. “We almost wrecked, too. There was a lot of stuff on the racetrack. That's why that wreck happened on the front stretch — there was oil all over it.
“Ray Charles could see that. It was just a judgment call, I guess.”
NASCAR fans deserve better