Humpy Wheeler received a standing ovation in the drivers' meeting, in honor of his last race as president of LMS.
"Nobody ever bought a ticket to see me do anything at this track," Wheeler told the drivers and crew chiefs. "They bought a ticket to see you guys, and maybe to see a little about what we could stir up before race time. I will be grateful for the rest of my life for what you all have done.
"The show can't go on without you."
Wheeler then referred to Saturday night's Nationwide Series race in which an altercation broke out between the pit crews of Denny Hamlin
and Brad Keselowski
over contact by their drivers on the track.
"I grabbed Robin [Pemberton] after it was all over, before he started counting who was hitting who," Wheeler said of NASCAR's vice president for competition. "I said, 'Robin, let's do this again tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock and pay everybody double.'
"You guys put on the show and we sell the tickets. I'm not going anywhere. I'm staying in this sport, just in a different role. I leave you with one thing, and I'll steal a little bit from the Irish Blessing. I hope that the green flag waves slowly on you today, and until we meet again, my God hold you in the palms of his hands."
France said he was touched by Wheeler's words.
"He's such a pioneer to the sport," he said. "He's somebody I have dealt with my entire career in NASCAR. He'll be missed. But like he said, I don't think he's going to go that far away.
"Maybe there is something he can help NASCAR with. He's certainly got as ... broad knowledge of what's going on as anybody."
had a conversation with former Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Busch
following Sunday's race.
"I guess he doesn't like people to race him," said Gordon, who finished fourth, one spot behind Busch. "Kyle and I never had any issues [at HMS]. But I raced him hard tonight just like I did everybody. And when track position is as important as it is here, you've got to race every single car for every single position.
"I wasn't going to give an inch, and I was racing for position. He's got an issue because he gave me the finger, and you know what? That's not necessary
Busch declined to comment on the conversation, saying it would remain between him and Gordon.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
recorded his ninth top-10 of the season with Sunday's fifth-place finish to strengthen his position of third in points. He had only 12 all of last season.
With 102 laps remaining, NASCAR's most popular driver appeared headed for his first win in 73 starts but went into the wall as he was trying not to lap Gordon.
"I didn't want to lap my teammate if I didn't have to, so I was just cruising," Earnhardt said. "I had been into that corner 250 times before that, and I just rolled down in there, and it went straight into the wall.
"The right rear tire was blown out after I hit the wall. I am assuming it went flat getting in the corner, but it went straight in the corner like a right front goes flat. Odd."