The brass have spoken at NASCAR concerning the little dust-up at Phoenix International Raceway. At the end of the day Jeff Gordon’s wallet is only a wee bit lighter, he and his boss will lose a few meaningless points, and he, owner Rick Hendrick and crew chief Alan Gustafson will have to behave for the rest of the calendar year; never mind the season has only one race left in it. For his part, Clint Bowyer’s crew chief’s will enrich the NASCAR coffers to a lesser degree an’t go postal for the same period of time. It shouldn’t be too much of a stretch, considering the parties involved weren’t likely to get together for a little Thanksgiving football viewing.
The long and the short of it is NASCAR has done enough to say they addressed the issue to the non-racing world, but did so without making it look like they’re getting heavy handed inside NASCAR Nation. There’s a little something for everybody, and no one gets majorly hosed. Gordon’s offense ISN’T the same as Kyle Busch with Ron Hornaday in the CWTS, so parking him would have been excessive, don’t you think? It doesn’t seem the fine was; let’s face it, a $100k fine means his and Ingrid’s vacation will be a couple of days shorter or something like that.
Well, then there is the matter of Clint Bowyer. Whether or not he got off easy or took it in the shorts is a matter of debate. One can argue he suffered enough viz a viz Jeff Gordon’s fender. Bowyer won’t get back the points he lost for wrecking, and his VERY outside shot at a title is finished; never mind the fact he had one heck of a hill to climb before this mess. On the other hand, if you side with Gordon (and there seems to be a number of you who do) then maybe seeing a little financial or point penalty pain inflicted on Mr. 5 Hour would have suited you better.
Still, it begs the question: if Bowyer had piled up all these offenses prior to Phoenix, was there any talking between them? It doesn’t really sound like it. Yes, there’s been lots of contact between the two before Sunday, but can you legitimately say that Bowyer ever tried to wreck Gordon? There is a difference.
You know what’s worse than that? The timing. Joey Logano and Aric Almirola really got screwed by Gordon’s antics, and they had nothing to do with it. Regardless of what he thinks of Bowyer, Gordon knows that when he wrecked Bowyer, it’s not just Bowyer that paid. That kind of deal ripples through the whole organization, and anyone else in harm’s way.
Now I’m not saying it WILL happen, but Clint Bowyer’s not on probation. Points? He doesn’t need them now. You see where I am going with this? It will be interesting see what Bowyer does or doesn’t do at Homestead. Lest you think I am painting Bowyer as some kind of Mother Theresa, he did himself no favors on Twitter with the usage of a word once widely used to describe the mentally challenged. Utterly classless on his part, but I will take his later apology at face value.
You know who the winner in this is don’t you? NASCAR. Now that Brad Keselowski all but has the title wrapped up, there’s an absence of the drama like we had between Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards last year. So instead, we get a little sideshow to get everybody talking. Truth is stranger than fiction. Love it or hate it has everybody talking, and for a moment in time, NASCAR shares a little stage space with the NFL and college football.
Jim McCoy is a radio and television sports reporter and producer in Southern Oregon, where he makes his home with his wife and three children. Jim is also a radio play-by-play announcer for high school football, baseball and basketball. He was recently named Oregon Association of Broadcasters 2012 Sports Announcer of The Year- Non-commercial Division.
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