One dip or two: Forget Bad Brad, Jeff Gordon has a new nickname for Keselowski

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If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Jeff Gordon in his 22 seasons as a Sprint Cup driver, it takes a lot for him to lose his cool.

But when the normally calm and collected Gordon calls an opposing driver a “dips***” live on national TV and doesn’t care if the censors bleeped it out or not, you know Gordon was ticked beyond compare with Brad Keselowski following Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Even in the most heated and storied battles over the years early in his Cup career with the late Dale Earnhardt, Gordon never called The Intimidator “The Dips***.”

Of course, Gordon respected Earnhardt immensely — Keselowski, not so much.

That’s why it’s no wonder that Gordon went after Keselowski on pit road after the race, with both drivers ultimately winding up with fat lips – the direct result from what Gordon perceived as a fathead move by Keselowski moments earlier on the racetrack.

As the final five laps wound down and immediately after the second-to-last restart, Gordon was attempting to overtake teammate Jimmie Johnson on the outside, an unusual move for Gordon, who many thought would likely take Johnson on the inside instead.

While the two Hendrick Motorsports teammates raced each other cleanly, all of a sudden, Keselowski appeared and tried to squeeze through a small opening between his two opponents.

Unfortunately, as quick as that hole opened for Keselowski, Gordon attempted to close it. But it was too late and contact was made, with Gordon’s car getting the brunt of it, eventually ending with a cut left tire and a spin that not only took him out of contention, for the win, it left him with a dismal 29th-place finish.

And instead of maintaining his lead in the Sprint Cup standings, Gordon is now on the bubble of possibly being eliminated from the Chase in this Sunday’s Eliminator Round-deciding race at Phoenix.

Instead of a potential win that would have earned him an automatic berth in the four driver, winner-take-all season finale race at Homestead, Gordon came away with a potential ticket to elimination from the Chase next week.

“We were sitting there on older tires, I spun the tires a bit but got a decent start,” Gordon told ESPN in the post-race interview. “I went down into (turn) one and I just wanted to get to the outside of the 48 (Jimmie Johnson), and out of nowhere, I got slammed by the 2 (Keselowski) and it cut my left rear tire.

“He’s just a dips***. I don’t know how he’s ever won a championship and I’m just sick and tired of him. That’s why everybody is fighting and running him down. Your emotions are high. That was a huge, huge race for us. We had the car, we had the position.”

Trying to turn lemons into lemonade, Gordon praised Johnson for the win, while also not missing a chance to take another swipe at Keselowski.

“I’m proud of Jimmie Johnson for winning that race and not let that you-know-what win that race,” Gordon said.

That Keselowski has potentially become the most vilified driver in NASCAR – at least in this year’s Chase for his recent battles with Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart and now Jeff Gordon – and arguably more so than self-proclaimed “villain” Kyle Busch, says a lot.

But when it came to Gordon going after Keselowski, there were no words, just hostility and a determination for revenge and payback.

“There wasn’t any conversation,” Gordon said of the time he approached Keselowski until he grabbed him by his collar – and the donnybrook was on.

“(Keselowski’s) put himself in this position himself and he’s got to pay the consequences,” Gordon said.

Does that mean that with both drivers’ season on the line this coming Sunday at Phoenix, Gordon will do to Keselowski what Kevin Harvick said about Matt Kenseth after their on-track run-in at Martinsville last week?

In other words, if what Keselowski did to Gordon at Texas ultimately leads to Gordon missing arguably his best chance at his first championship in 13 years, will he also see to it that, like Harvick said of Kenseth, that if he (Gordon) can’t win the Cup crown, he’ll do everything in his power to make sure Keselowski doesn’t either?

“I’m going to race him the same way he races me, but that kind of stuff is just uncalled for and I’m not going to stand for it,” Gordon said. “To (NASCAR), I’m sure it’s just a racing incident. But to me, it’s just a bunch of crap.

“(Keselowski) is just doing stuff way over his head. That’s just uncalled for. You’re racing for a win and a championship, you don’t go slamming a man and cut their left rear tire. But if that’s what it takes, no problem, we can do the same thing right back to him.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Miguel Oliveira wins MotoGP Thai Grand Prix, Bagnaia closes to two points in championship

MotoGP Thai Grand Prix
Mirco Lazzari / Getty Images
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Miguel Oliveira mastered mixed conditions on the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand to win the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix. Oliveira showed the adaptability as he navigated a race that began in wet conditions and turned dry over the course of the race. Oliveira won the Indonesian GP in similar conditions.

“It was a long race, but I can’t complain,” Oliveira said on CNBC. “Every time we get to ride in the wet, I’m always super-fast. When it started raining, I had flashbacks of Indonesia. I tried to keep my feet on the ground, make a good start and not make mistakes and carry the bike to the end.”

All eyes were on the championship, however. Francesco Bagnaia got a great start to slot into second in Turn 1.

Meanwhile Fabio Quartararo had a disastrous first lap. He lost five positions in the first couple of turns and then rode over the rumble strips and fell back to 17th. At the end of the first lap, Bagnaia had the points’ lead by two. A win would have added to the gain and for a moment, it appeared Bagnaia might assume the lead.

Early leader Marco Bezzecchi was penalized for exceeding track limits, but before that happened, Jack Miller got around Bagnaia and pushed him back to third. Oliveira was not far behind.

After throwing away ninth-place and seven points on the last lap of the Japanese GP last week, Bagnaia did not allow the competition to press him into a mistake. He fell back as far as fourth before retaking the final position on the podium.

“It’s like a win for me, this podium,” Bagnaia. “My first podium in the wet and then there was a mix of conditions, so I’m very happy. I want to thank Jack Miller. Before the race, he gave me a motivational chat.”

Miller led the first half of the Thai Grand Prix before giving up the top spot to Oliveira and then held on to finish second. Coupled with his Japanese GP win, Miller is now fully in the MotoGP championship battle with a 40-point deficit, but he will need a string of results like Bagnaia has put together in recent weeks – and he needs Bagnaia to lose momentum.

Miller’s home Grand Prix in Australia is next up on the calendar in two weeks.

Bagnaia entered the race 18 points behind Quartararo after he failed to score any in Japan. The balance of power has rapidly shifted, however, with Quartararo now failing to earn points in two of the last three rounds. Bagnaia won four consecutive races and finished second in the five races leading up to Japan. His third-place finish in Thailand is now his sixth MotoGP podium in the last seven rounds.

Aleix Espargaro entered the race third in the standings with a 25-point deficit to Quartararo, but was able to close the gap by only five after getting hit with a long-lap penalty for aggressive riding when he pushed Darryn Binder off course during a pass for position. Espargaro finished 11th.

Rain mixed up the Moto2 running order in the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix as well. Starting on a wet track, Somkiat Chantra led the opening lap in his home Grand Prix. He could not hold onto it and crashed one circuit later, but still gave his countrymen a moment of pride by winning the pole.

Half points were awarded as the race went only eight laps before Tony Arbolino crossed under the checkers first with Filip Salac and Aron Canet rounding out the podium.

American Joe Roberts earned another top-10 in eighth with Sean Dylan Kelly finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th.