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Gordons Are Two Unhappy Racers

Jeff blasts Robby for his tactics during race; Robby tells Jeff to mind his own business.

June 23, 2003|Shav Glick | Times Staff Writer

SONOMA, Calif. — Jeff Gordon, usually the most even-tempered of race car drivers, unloaded his wrath on Robby Gordon after Sunday's Winston Cup race here, and what he had to say had no bearing on his own second-place finish behind Robby.

He was incensed over Robby's having passed Kevin Harvick, Robby's Richard Childress teammate, during a yellow caution period, which gave him better track position in the tense race.

"What I saw was Robby became an animal as soon as that caution came out because he thought that was his one golden opportunity to get by Kevin," he said. "He was all over the place on Kevin, and I'm sure Kevin was looking in his mirrors wondering, 'What the heck is going on here?'

"That's just unheard of, I'm telling you. It doesn't surprise me, but it's unheard of in our sport. The fact that it was his teammate makes it even worse. If me and my teammate were racing and he raced me harder getting back to the caution than he did under the green and he actually passed me, I tell you what, we'd have a little discussion.

"There are no rules, but the reason we don't race to the caution is for safety. NASCAR says it's up to us, it's a gentleman's agreement. Not too many guys have much respect for him, but he won so he doesn't care."

Which is exactly what Robby said -- he doesn't care what Jeff thinks -- and what he did was legal.

"Jeff Gordon was in the same driver's meeting that I was in, and three different times I specifically asked NASCAR if passing was acceptable under the caution flag going back to the start-finish line on a road course. Each time they said, 'Yeah, you can do it.' Jeff had to have heard that as well as I did.

"Racing here at Sears Point is very hard to pass, so I knew I had to have track position to win. When I saw an opportunity to move up a spot [past Harvick] I took it. Why shouldn't I?

"I have no idea why he was so concerned. As far as I'm concerned, it's none of his business."

Harvick was more succinct.

"I think Jeff said it best," he said.

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