Honestly, as much as people wanted to build up the storyline that Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer were not done with each other after their altercation at Phoenix, with NASCAR coming down on them a little bit this week it seemed clear it would not continue at Homestead.
At Phoenix, the two had contact on the track then Gordon retaliated and sparked a wreck that took out himself, Bowyer and Joey Logano. Bowyer’s crew then continued the confrontation with Gordon in the garage and Bowyer himself headed to Gordon’s transporter on foot before being turned away by officials. Both then were invited for a chat with NASCAR officials.
Last week, NASCAR not only came down on Jeff Gordon with a fine, but probably had some serious conversations with Jeff, with team owner Rick Hendrick, with Clint, with team owner Michael Waltrip, ensuring that all of that would stay in Phoenix because these guys still had a strong task at hand.
Obviously, Jeff Gordon was trying to get a second win in 2012 and Clint Bowyer was trying to maybe finish second in the points – and both goals were accomplished Sunday.
Gordon got his second Cup win of the year which, honestly, when you look at the season that he had this year, to win two races – I’m not sure that wipes out all the weird things that happened to him. But there are a lot of drivers that would love to have had two wins this year, for example the guy that led the most laps Sunday, Kyle Busch.
For Clint Bowyer to have a season where, with a brand-new race team, his first year at Michael Waltrip Racing, he won three races and finished second in the points. Honestly, I’ve got to believe, the furthest thing from the minds of those two drivers on Sunday was getting back at each other.
Now Gordon heads into the offseason as the final winner of the year.
He and his Hendrick Motorsports team have run well this year. They’ve had some great runs. They were in position to win a lot more races than just the two they did win. But Jeff Gordon continues to prove that he can still win races, can still contend for championships and if they can just put some of the bad luck that happened to them this year behind them, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see Jeff Gordon basically contending for a championship next year.