By admin | April 1, 2012
By Richard Allen
Itâ€™s always funny to me how the judgments of incidents in NASCAR are almost solely based on who was involved rather than what actually happened. That said, Iâ€™m sure there will be some interesting comments, both pro and con, on this piece.
So, here goes.
After what was meant to be a green/white/checker restart late in the Goodyâ€™s Fast Relief 500 at the Martinsville Speedway, driver Clint Bowyer made a bold move going into the first turn that put him on the inside of a three-wide scramble for the lead with Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. The end result was that neither of those three drivers emerged from turn two with the lead. Rather, all three had incurred enough damage from the melee that took place to eliminate each from contention for the win.
Gordon, who had led 328 laps up to that point, appeared to be on the verge of collecting his eighth career win at the paper clip shaped half-mile track. Needless to say, he was less than pleased with Bowyerâ€™s move. â€œThat stupid ****er,â€ the four time Sprint Cup champion blasted into his team radio immediately after the incident. â€œWhat a jerk.â€
Later, Gordon was a bit more reflective. “I like Clint. Who doesn’t like Clint Bowyer?” he asked. “He is just one of those guys that everybody likes. I love racing with him. It was unlike him to do that. I was pretty mad at the time, but after understanding what happened, I wouldn’t blame it on him.”
Gordon, who had not pitted under the previous caution when most other lead lap cars had, acknowledged that he spun his tires on the restart and provided an opening for Bowyer to make his move. Also, Bowyer had explained in their post race meeting that Ryan Newman had bumped him in the rear going into the turn.
“That’s Martinsville, green/white/checkered,” Gordon added. “There are no guarantees at this place. Anytime they stack them up like that you know it is going to get ugly in the first couple of corners.”
Bowyer explained his move in post race interviews. “It pretty much sucked,” he said. “They(either Gordon or Johnson) should have won the race and we should have finished fourth there, but that’s just the nature of the beast. When a car’s got (fresh) tires and other cars don’t…
“He(Gordon) spun the tires pretty hard,” Bowyer continued. “If I didn’t go down there, the 39(Newman) had already hit me in the rear and he was going to.”
The reality is, it was a move Bowyer almost had to make. While the odds of actually pulling it off may have been slim, there are only so many opportunities to win a Sprint Cup race and drivers ought to go for them when they can.
And furthermore, Bowyerâ€™s car was well alongside that of Gordon by the time they reached the corner. Itâ€™s not as if the 15 car got into the left rear quarter panel. The contact between the two was essentially door to door. Gordon had to know Bowyer was there and could have allowed for more room.
I can definitely understand why Gordon would be angry. He feels as though he got taken out by a wild â€˜dive bombâ€™ move that could have been avoided. But on the other hand, if I were Bowyerâ€™s car owner or sponsor I would have been asking him why he didnâ€™t make a stronger move at the end had he simply held his line and came home 3rd or 4th.
Circumstances always change. If this were the fall race at Martinsville and a move such as that had knocked a Chase for the Championship contender out, the judgment might be different. However, itâ€™s early in the season and wins should be valued enough that drivers are willing to take a few risks to achieve them.
Clint Bowyer simply did what any racer ought to have done in that situation.
Now that Iâ€™ve said stated my case, let me hear yours(Gordon fans, Bowyer fans and all others).
Top-35 rule played major role in Martinsville late race chaos -> http://racingwithrich.com/?p=1740
Topics: Articles |