Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Gordon on Keselowski: Deal with Consequences
By Matt Weaver — Jeff Gordon says he simply wanted to have a conversation with Brad Keselowski on pit road last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway but the situation escalated because a group of Team Penske crew members shielded their driver from the four-time Sprint Cup Series champion.
Speaking to the media on Friday at Phoenix International Raceway, Gordon says the situation likely would have diffused itself if the two drivers could have talked it out face-to-face.
“It escalated because Brad didn’t want to face the situation,” Gordon said. “Those pit crew guys were kind of in the middle of that. The thing that I feel terrible about is getting my guys involved with it. I feel like if we could have just had a face-to-face there would have been no incident.”
Gordon said that he had no problem with the way Keselowski raced him in the closing laps but believed an aggressor should have to face the consequences of his actions if they negatively affect someone’s day.
“If you win the race and the guy that you slam finishes third or fourth, I will be the first one to stand up and say that was awesome — that was a great move,” Gordon said. “But when you don’t win the race and you ruin a person’s day, there are consequences that you are going to have to deal with and how you handle yourself after that is a part of it.”
Keselowski took Gordon and eventual winner Jimmie Johnson three-wide for the lead at Texas, cutting Gordon’s tire and sending him from the front of the field to 29th and a lap down by the end of the race. The 2012 champion later justified the move, citing inspiration from legendary drivers like Dale Earnhardt and Ayrton Senna.
Gordon said that the comparisons to greatness go beyond actions on the track but also how those drivers handled conflict after the race, something that Keselowski still needs to learn.
“If you are going to compare to the greats of this sport that have been aggressive over the years, you also have to compare how they handle themselves in those situations afterwards,” Gordon said. “The ones that I’ve had to deal with on that — they know how to not make enemies — they might not have a lot of friends out there, but they also don’t have a lot of enemies.
“If they do they seem to find a way to patch that up fairly quickly.”
Gordon is ready to move on and explained that he will race Keselowski the way he has been raced moving forward. He enters the weekend fourth in the standings and occupies the final provisional transfer spot to the Championship Race at Homestead Miami Speedway. As a result of the incident, Gordon is now on the bubble and may have to win to transfer and knows it.
“That is not a fun, comfortable position to be in when you know the way the restarts are here, when you know there is some potential for some tires issues here and when you know you can come down pit road, do a pit stop and the caution comes out right after you leave pit road,” Gordon said. “There are just so many variables there that there is just no cushion that is really comfortable and so everybody is going to aggressively trying to win this race because that is the only think that you can do to make sure you get through. That is our goal.”