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.”
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