Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton crash and fight
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton, two of the most respected and mild-mannered drivers in the Sprint Cup garage, had a physical confrontation on the track after a wreck under caution on Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.
"We went into Turn 3 and he went up to the wall where he was running," Gordon said as he gave his version of the Lap 192 wreck that sent both cars to the garage. "I went down to the same groove I was running. By the time we got into the middle of the corner he just turned into my door and got me really loose.
"He said the sun got into his eyes. Then we got down into [Turn] 1 and I just drove up next to him to show him my displeasure of what went on and he just flat out wrecked us. He wrecked himself. It was pretty stupid."
After both drivers climbed out of their cars Gordon walked down the track to confront Burton. As Burton explained his version of what happened, Gordon went after him with a shove and a few swings with his arms and legs before both were separated by NASCAR officials.
"He felt I came up on him and he didn't mean to wreck me," Gordon said. "I'm sorry, I will never believe that. I've been inside the race car long enough to know what your intentions were and I know what they were then."
Burton said the sun got into his eyes and "it was my fault we got together." He said it was not intentional.
"I knew he was going to be mad," Burton said. "I don't blame him for being mad. He was upset, and he should have been upset. I didn't mean to wreck him, but I wrecked him under caution. I don't have a bit of a problem with what he did," referring to the confrontation.
Burton said over his in-car radio as soon as the incident occurred that Gordon "cut up in front of me."
Gordon's radio response?
"It's killed," he said. "That sucker killed it. What the hell? He's the one being a dumbass."
After being separated by officials both drivers were forced to ride in the same ambulance to the infield care center. Gordon left the center in a golf cart and rode straight to his car in the garage. Burton answered a few questions from reporters before jogging off.
"I didn't want to ride in the ambulance with him, I tell you that," Gordon said. "I wanted to confront him. It wasn't fun."
Gordon entered the race fourth in the Chase standings. Burton was 10th.
"I just couldn't believe the respect I lost for a guy like Jeff to do something like that," Gordon said. "That was pretty stupid."
A NASCAR spokesman said the incident, plus an earlier incident in which Kyle Busch was held two laps for giving an improper gesture to a NASCAR official, will be evaluated Tuesday to determine if further punishment will be implemented.
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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