November 07, 2010
After getting wrecked by Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon took a swing at Burton on the track at Texas Motor Speedway. NASCAR officials quickly stepped in, holding back a livid Gordon who continued to jaw at Burton.
"I was walking toward him going through all the scenarios in my mind," Gordon said. "I thought I did the least amount that I wanted to do. I wanted to show how upset I was. I wanted to do more than that. I held back. I'm just still in disbelief. I didn't want to be in the ambulance with him, I can tell you that, but we got in there. I like Jeff. He's a guy who's usually very rational. I respect his opnion. He apologized. Said it was his fault, said he didn't mean to do it. Whatever. It's over."
Burton and Gordon had made contact before Martin Truex Jr. brought out a yellow on the other side of the track. Burton said he drove up alongside Gordon to apologize for the previous incident and accidentally hooked Gordon's bumper, sending Gordon into the wall off of Turn 2.
"We came off Turn 4, it's really hard to see off Turn 4," Burton said. "He drove underneath me, I should have let him go, and I didn't. The caution came out. He drove up next to me to tell me he was upset at me. Then I drove up next to him to acknowledge him and say he was right. I turned left, he turned left. We hung up and off we went. I honestly don't know what happened. One-hundred percent it was my fault. Once we got together, I couldn't get off him. I didn't mean to hit him. I meant to pull up and tell him he was right for being upset and I should have let him go."
Gordon didn't buy that.
"I just drove up into him to show my displeasure with what went on and he just wrecked us," Gordon said. "He just flat out wrecked us."
Gordon said that he also lost respect for Burton, who's generally viewed as the spokesperson for the sport. Burton said that he didn't blame Gordon for being mad.
"I don't blame him. He didn't do anything he shouldn't have done," Burton said. "He was upset and should have been. I wrecked him under caution, and I didn't mean to wreck him under caution."
It was also the second time in three weeks that Gordon had been wrecked by the front bumper of another driver. At Martinsville — where Gordon said Sunday that he probably deserved it -- Kurt Busch sent Gordon spinning after contact between the two.
"If somebody does something stupid, I'm going to be mad about it and I'm going to show him my frustration," Gordon said. "If I could have gotten to Kurt Busch after Martinsville it would have been the same thing. I didn't see him. And I had time to calm down. And I walked down there hoping I would see Jeff and I did. I'm lucky I had a long enough walk to think about what I wanted to say and do because if I hadn't have had that long a walk, I would have done something I regretted."
The incident after the crash wasn't exactly reminiscent of the infamous Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough fight in the 1979 Daytona 500, and it wasn't the first time that Gordon has been in a minor altercation with a driver after an on-track incident. Gordon and Matt Kenseth traded shoves at Bristol in 2003. In that incident, Gordon shoved Kenseth with his helmet still on.
"I heard there was a fight today," Kenseth said. "Did everyone take off their helmets this time?"
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