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NASCAR penalizes Jeff Gordon, others after melee in Phoenix

November 12, 2012|By Jim Peltz
  • Clint Bowyer (15) and Jeff Gordon (24) collide on track.
Clint Bowyer (15) and Jeff Gordon (24) collide on track. (Tom Pennington / Getty Images )

NASCAR levied a stiff fine on Jeff Gordon for intentionally wrecking Clint Bowyer and helping trigger a wild brawl among their crews Sunday in Phoenix, but Gordon was not suspended for the season's last race this weekend.

Gordon was fined $100,000 and docked 25 Sprint Cup Series championship points, although Gordon — a four-time champion — already had been eliminated from title contention.

Brad Keselowski has a 20-point lead over Jimmie Johnson heading into the season finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.

"I take responsibility for my actions on the race track," Gordon said in a statement. "I accept NASCAR's decision and look forward to ending the season on a high note at Homestead."

Brian Pattie, Bowyer's crew chief, was fined $25,000.

Gordon, retaliating for what he claimed were Bowyer's previous run-ins with him on the track, intentionally wrecked Bowyer's No. 15 Toyota after Bowyer hit Gordon's No. 24 Chevrolet near the end of Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway.

That sparked the brawl between the drivers' teams in the garage. Bowyer also jumped out of his car and sprinted to Gordon's transporter truck, but Bowyer was restrained before he could confront Gordon.

Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's competition director, said in a statement that "a unique set of circumstances combined with a championship battle on the line resulted in raw emotions coming into play."

Keselowski, meanwhile, was fined $25,000 for having a smartphone in his car during the race. The television camera inside Keselowski's No. 2 Dodge showed him looking down at the phone in his hand when the race was stopped for 15 minutes to clean up debris from the Gordon-Bowyer crash.

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