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NASCAR fines Jeff Gordon fined $100,000, docks him 25 points

By Jim Utter, The Charlotte Observer –

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The intentional wrecking and subsequent pit road brawl in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix did not go over well with NASCAR.

And in a surprising twist, neither did Brad Keselowski’s penchant for using social media.

Four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon was fined $100,000 on Monday by NASCAR, which also docked him 25 points for intentionally wrecking Clint Bowyer late in Sunday’s race.

Gordon and his crew chief, Alan Gustafson, were also placed on probation through Dec. 31.

The on-track incident set off a wild pit road brawl involving Gordon and Bowyer’s teams.

“I take responsibility for my actions on the race track. I accept NASCAR’s decision and look forward to ending the season on a high note at Homestead,” Gordon said in a statement.

Gordon’s team owner was also penalized 25 car owner points. Hendrick Motorsports will not appeal the penalties.

Bowyer crew chief Brian Pattie was fined $25,000 and placed on probation through the end of the year.

The penalty combined with the wreck drops Gordon from sixth in the series standings to 11th with only Sunday’s season finale at Homestead, Fla., remaining.

Based on the monetary awards given out last season, the penalty could cost Gordon and his team in excess of $500,000 in end of the year bonuses if he can’t improve his points position this weekend.

NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton issued a statement explaining the rationale behind the decision.

“There’s no doubt that a unique set of circumstances combined with a championship battle on the line resulted in raw emotions coming into play,” he said. “We consider the penalties appropriate and those involved understand our decision and we expect them to abide by them.”

In a surprise, Keselowski was fined $25,000 and placed on probation for using his cell phone while the race was red-flagged for the Gordon/Bowyer wreck. He did the same thing in the season-opening Daytona 500 with no adverse action by NASCAR.

NASCAR claimed Monday it had since told drivers they could no longer have cell phones on board their cars during races, but had not publicly announced any such policy.

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