Gordon put on probation for rest of year
Updated: August 7, 2007, 8:09 PM ETBy David Newton | ESPN.com
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Robby Gordon faces indefinite suspension if he's not on his best behavior in the Nextel Cup and Busch Series for the remainder of the season.Gordon on Tuesday was fined $35,000 and placed on probation for the remainder of the year in both of NASCAR's top two series for his behavior in Saturday's Busch Series race in Montreal. The penalties came on top of Gordon being "parked" from driving in Sunday's Cup race at Pocono Raceway. "If he does anything that we consider conduct detrimental to [the sport] or if he in any way disrupts the orderly running of an event he will be suspended indefinitely," NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said. "Anything we deem in appropriate. The magnifying glass just got bigger on Robby Gordon," Hunter said. The penalties are in line with what happened to Kevin Harvick in 2002 when he was not allowed to participate in a Cup race for his actions in a Craftsman Truck Series event in Martinsville, Va. NASCAR officials said it is not uncommon for a driver to be penalized in one series for an event in another because the governing body is over all three series -- Cup, Busch and Truck. Gordon, who does not drive in the Truck Series, was not docked points because he is not running for points in Busch. Gordon's penalty was the result of a flurry of events surrounding a green-white checkered finish in the inaugural Busch race at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villenueve. Gordon felt he was in the lead when caution flew after contact with Marcos Ambrose sent him into a spin. NASCAR ruled that Gordon slipped back to 13th before the field was frozen. Gordon, feeling he should have been at least first or second, ignored the order and lined up second behind Ambrose on the restart. He then spun Ambrose out, opening the door for Harvick to win. NASCAR black-flagged Gordon and told him to park his car, but Gordon stayed on the track and upstaged Harvick's celebration with a burnout of his own. NASCAR then parked Gordon for Sunday's Cup race but allowed P.J. Jones to drive the car. "That was bizarre," Hunter said. "It was as bizarre as anything I've seen in all the years I've been following the sport. Now that's a mouthful. I was stunned." Gordon could not immediately be reached for comment. He issued an apology on his Web site following Sunday's penalty, saying it was not his intention to disrespect the authority of NASCAR or its officials. "We'll sit this weekend out, but we will come to Watkins Glen with a vengeance to win both races," said Gordon, one of the top road-course drivers in NASCAR, as he looked ahead to Sunday's race. Ambrose was initially slated to attempt to qualify for his Cup debut at Watkins Glen in a Ford fielded by Wood Brothers/JTG Racing. But with that team's No. 21 Ford out of the top 35 in owners' points, the team elected to focus all of its efforts on getting Bill Elliott qualified for Sunday's Cup race. But ESPN has learned that Ambrose may yet get the chance to make his Cup debut -- thanks to Gordon. The owner/driver of Robby Gordon Motorsports has offered Ambrose the chance to qualify for the Centurion Boats at the Glen in a second RGM Ford. It's not certain whether Ambrose will be cleared to accept the offer, but the offer has been made. An announcement could come as soon as Tuesday evening. David Newton covers motorsports for ESPN.com. Information from ESPN associate editor Mark Ashenfelter contributed to this report.
ESPN TOP HEADLINES
- Djokovic wins 5th Aussie title, denies Murray
- McIlroy rolls to Dubai win, ties tourney record
- Rodgers tops Watt, collects 2nd MVP award
- Seau, Bettis, Shields among 8 in HOF class