Gordon takes out frustration on David Ragan in early laps at Fontana
Just 22 laps into Sunday’s Auto Club 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway, four-time series champion Jeff Gordon took out some frustration on Kyle Busch fill-in David Ragan.
Battling with Ragan for the seventh spot in the race’s early laps, Gordon got several great runs on Ragan down the back straightaway, only to have Ragan’s No. 18 Toyota take away the run in the corner and pull away as the two cars exited the turn.
Growing agitated with Ragan, Gordon drove hard into the corner on Lap 22, putting the nose of his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet just behind the left rear quarter panel of Ragan’s Joe Gibbs Racing car.
While Gordon did not make contact with Ragan, the Hendrick Motorsports driver’s frustration level had been rising in the laps leading up to the spin.
"Let him know it’s the bumper," Gordon said over his in-car radio just prior to the incident. "I tried it the easy way; now it’s going to be the hard way for him."
Gordon eventually took the air off Ragan’s machine and sent it sliding down the banking, bringing out the first caution of the day. There was no damage to either car, but Ragan was later penalized for pitting too soon.
When the race restarted on Lap 27, Gordon was seventh, while Ragan was 42nd, one lap down to the race leaders.