When sports fans hear the term bench-clearing brawl, they most often think about hockey, although the last one in the NHL was more than 15 years ago. These days the more demure sport of baseball is where you are most likely to find an altercation where both organizations are involved.
On Sunday, it was NASCAR that had crews from two race teams involved in an all-out brawl.
As the cars approached their final lap at Phoenix International Raceway, Jeff Gordon slowed his No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet to wait for rival Clint Bowyer in apparent retaliation for “a year’s full of frustration.” Bowyer had initiated contact in the weeks leading up to the Phoenix race in an escalating on-track feud.
As Bowyer approached with his No. 15 5-hour Energy Toyota, Gordon steered him into the wall causing a wreck.
Gordon navigated his racecar to the garage, but when he exited, Bowyer’s crewmen jumped the four-time NASCAR champion from behind. A fracas ensued between the DuPont and 5-hour Energy crews outside the haulers. Bowyer climbed over a wall and sprinted through the garage area but was prevented from joining the fight by NASCAR officials.
Gordon avoided suspension but was placed on probation until December 31, fined $100,000 and penalized 25 points by NASCAR for intentionally wrecking Bowyer.
“I take responsibility for my actions on the racetrack. I accept NASCAR’s decision and look forward to ending the season on a high note at Homestead [Miami.]” — statement by Jeff Gordon
Meanwhile, Brad Keselowski was fined $25,000 and placed on probation for having an electronic device in his car which he used to tweet about the incident during the red flag stoppage.
Here’s a clip of the crash and resulting brawl. (Video posted to YouTube by imJustTheGOAT)