Yesterday’s Jeff Gordon-Jeff Burton fight may have been mild by recent standards. After all, the Jeff Gordon-Jeff Burton fight was the second major sports brawl in three days between competitors. On Friday, fans saw horse racing jockeys Calvin Borel and Javier Castellano go at it in the Breeders Cup. In this case, race car drivers clashed after a hard crash, which is a more common sight. But thanks to the fight, a much rarer sight was overshadowed – that of Jimmie Johnson losing his points lead.
The AAA 500 in Texas was already a heated affair since it is the third-to-last race of the season. But while Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick are fighting for the championship, others are just fighting for pride.
The Jeff Gordon-Jeff Burton fight was between drivers who are in the Chase, but are pretty much out of the running. Nevertheless, they tried to gain some ground yesterday, yet were knocked out together. It came on lap 191 during a caution, when Burton wound up going into the back of Gordon’s car, taking them both out of the running.
This set Gordon off, to the point where he climbed out of his car and attacked Burton right on the track. Even after the two were finally separated, they had to share an ambulance ride together. Burton reportedly apologized along the way for starting the crash, and Gordon said afterward that he had put it behind him.
Yet the buzz around the fight has far overshadowed the relatively peaceful aftermath. In fact, it has already done more to put NASCAR in the headlines than the Chase for the Cup. Although the Chase is actually thrilling for once, and may not be won by Jimmie Johnson for once, it took this brawl to get people talking.
This is the most Gordon has done to make headlines in years, since he is in a rather long drought, both in wins and in championships. The crash dropped him from fourth to sixth in the Chase standings, but his championship hopes ended some time ago anyway. Meanwhile, Burton dropped two spots as well, down to 12th and last in the Chase.
In other news from the AAA 500, Denny Hamlin actually won his second race in a row and seized the points lead from Johnson. With two races left, Hamlin leads by 33 points over Johnson, and by 59 points over Kevin Harvick. But the Gordon-Burton fight is all that casual fans and onlookers are talking about today.
The brawl even impacted the contenders, as Gordon’s pit crew had time to help teammate Johnson rally for 9th place. But if there’s no fight in Phoenix next week, the Chase can likely resume under more normal circumstances from here on in.
YouTube- “2010 AAA 500 at Texas – Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton Fight!”
SI.com- “An unexpected fight could be exactly what NASCAR needed”
Yahoo Sports- “NASCAR – Standings”