Suspending Jeff Gordon would end "Boys Have At It"

Associated Press Published: November 12, 2012
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Then came last November at Texas, when Busch blatantly put Hornaday, a championship contender, into the wall under caution.

Unlike Edwards, he absolutely deserved to be suspended.

Where NASCAR erred was in insisting that Busch had been suspended solely for the Hornaday incident when he had been out of control most of last season and arrogantly behaving as if his talent made him untouchable. In fact, Hornaday had called for Busch to be suspended for that weekend's Cup race, an option Busch seemed to dismiss in an interview after the accident.

By suspending him the next morning, NASCAR sent a message it was in charge and Busch better start behaving.

Gordon's decision to wreck Bowyer — he says Bowyer deserved it for a season's worth of misdeeds — is more like the Edwards incident. Or perhaps more like another incident last season, when Brian Vickers promised retaliation against Matt Kenseth and then rode Kenseth's back bumper until Kenseth turned into the wall. Vickers got no penalty.

Gordon, however, seemed to have zero regard for others on the track. The wreck also collected Joey Logano and Aric Almirola, championship contender Keselowski had to dodge his way around it and the whole thing was a direct contributor to the last-lap wreck.

NASCAR needed to take action against the crew chiefs, and did by fining Brian Pattie $25,000 for failing to maintain control of Bowyer's crew and placing Alan Gustafson on probation through the end of the year because he's responsible for Gordon's crew.

With that, NASCAR was done with the matter.

"There's no doubt that a unique set of circumstances combined with a championship battle on the line resulted in raw emotions coming into play," said NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton. "We consider the penalties appropriate and those involved understand our decision and we expect them to abide by them."

It was the appropriate response from NASCAR. Either the series is going to be about immediate paybacks and justice — you know, the stuff that's got everybody talking and moves the meter — or there's no such thing as "Boys, Have At It" anymore.



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