Daytona Beach, FL – NASCAR penalized Jeff Gordon with a loss of 25 points and a fine of $100,000 for intentionally wrecking Clint Bowyer during Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.
According to release from NASCAR on Monday, Gordon was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing -- altercation with another competitor on the race track during the race). He was also placed on probation until Dec. 31.
Gordon avoided suspension for the incident, which led to a brawl between Gordon and Bowyer's team in the garage area at Phoenix. The four-time Cup Series champion will compete in next Sunday's season-ending race at Homestead- Miami Speedway.
"I take responsibility for my actions on the racetrack," Gordon said in a team statement. "I accept NASCAR's decision and look forward to ending the season on a high note at Homestead."
Alan Gustafson, the crew chief for Gordon's No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, received probation for the remainder of the year as well. Gustafson was found to be in violation of Section 9-4A (at all events, crew chief assumes responsibility of his driver, car owner and team members). Team owner Rick Hendrick was docked 25 championship owner points.
"I've always respected Jeff for standing his ground," Hendrick said. "We also respect that NASCAR needs to police the sport and send a message when situations like this occur. It's been a great year, and we're going to put our focus on finishing in a positive way this weekend."
Brian Pattie, the crew chief for Bowyer's No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota, was fined $25,000 and placed on probation until the end of the year for his team's involvement in the fight. Members of Bowyer's crew attacked Gordon after he got out of his car in the garage.
Earlier in the day, MWR issued a statement apologizing for the physical altercation.
The statement read, "The goal of Michael Waltrip Racing is to be a championship-level organization both on and off the track. The on-track incident which occurred during Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway was extremely disappointing and brought raw emotions of a long and hard championship battle to the surface.
"Though we generally cannot control certain actions on the track, the unfortunate reactions off the track Sunday did not live up to the professional standards in which Michael Waltrip Racing expects all of its representatives to live by. We commit to our sponsors, our manufacturer, our fans and NASCAR that we will do so in the future."
As customary after any physical altercation during a race, officials had a sit down with Bowyer and Gordon in the NASCAR hauler following the event. Several security officers stood guard outside the hauler as the meeting took place. The sanctioning body further reviewed the incident on Monday before issuing its penalties.
"Following a thorough analysis of the actions that took place during Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway, we have issued penalties based upon our review," NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said. "The decisions announced today cover NASCAR's full assessment of penalties for the incidents that occurred.
"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. We consider the penalties appropriate and those involved understand our decision and we expect them to abide by them."
NASCAR also noted its release that Brad Keselowski, the driver of the No. 2 Penske Racing Dodge and the current points leader in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, was fined $25,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31 for having a cell phone in his car while on the racetrack. Keselowski was using the electronic device when NASCAR halted (red-flagged) the race following Bowyer and Gordon's crash. He violated Sections 12-1 and 20-6.7A (cars and drivers will not be permitted to carry onboard computers, automated electronic recording devices, electronically actuated devices, power distribution modules, power conditioners, micro-processors, recording devices, electronic digital memory chips, traction control devices, digital readout gauges and the like, even if inoperable or incomplete).
Earlier this year, NASCAR implemented a rule banning drivers from having electronic devices in their cars during competition.
Keselowski presently holds a 20-point advantage over Jimmie Johnson.