NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon was fined, docked points, and placed on probation for deliberately wrecking rival Clint Bowyer at Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Gordon was fined $100,000, docked 25 points, and placed on probation until Dec. 31 (the season ends this Nov. 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway) for “actions detrimental to stock car racing.”
Team owner Rick Hendrick was docked 25 owner points. Gordon’s crew chief, Alan Gustafson, was also placed under probation, as the crew chief is held responsible for all actions of the crew.
“I take responsibility for my actions on the race track,” Gordon said on NASCAR.com. “I accept NASCAR’s decision and look forward to ending the season on a high note at Homestead.”
Gordon, who drives a Chevrolet Impala for Hendricks Motorsports, had contact with the Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota of Bowyer on lap 305 of the 312-lap event. Bowyer was behind Gordon when the Hendrick driver slowed; as he passed, Bowyer rubbed Gordon. Gordon tried to push back but ended up sliding into the wall, damaging his car.
Gordon circulated slowly until Bowyer passed again, then rammed Boweyer’s Toyota, sending it spinning into the Toyota of Joey Logano; Aric Amirola’s Ford was unable to avoid the sliding trio and also wrecked. The race had to be red-flagged to clean up the track.
Bowyer was third in championship points at the time. The wreck and subsequent retirement dropped him to fourth and likely out of contention.
After the on-track action had ended, several members of Bowyer’s pit crew scuffled with Gordon’s and Bowyer sprinted down pit lane trying to catch the Hendrick driver.
After the incident Bowyer told ESPN, “There’s nothing you can do to fix it now—it’s over with. I’ve got to go on to Homestead. This was my opportunity to try to get back into the championship hunt when you are disrupting a championship run like that, it’s too bad.”
In an unrelated ruling, points leader Brad Keselowski was fined $25,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31 for using a cell phone in the car while parked waiting for the clean-up crew to finish. NASCAR rules prohibit drivers to use any kind of electronic devices inside the car.
Keselowski needs to finish 15th or better in Sunday’s race to win his first Sprint Cup title.