Throughout his illustrious NASCAR career, Jeff Gordon experienced several combative moments on and off the track. Gordon never back down in any situation where he felt another driver wronged him. That was certainly the case for the Hall of Famer after an on-track incident with Brad Keselowski resulted in a pit road brawl and a busted lip.
Jeff Gordon suffers damaging spin out after collision with Brad Keselowski
Leading up to the final chase for the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series, things took a controversial turn involving Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski.
During the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, eighth race of 10 in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, the situation took a dramatic turn on the final few laps. Gordon took the lead from Jimmie Johnson on a restart with nine laps left with momentum heading toward a win.
However, a caution for debris led to a green-white-checkered finish, which allowed Johnson to retake the top spot after choosing the outside lane. That’s where things took a contentious route as Keselowski hit Gordon’s car in his attempt to split the middle between the No. 24 driver and Johnson.
The collision resulted in Gordon’s driver’s side rear tire becoming flat, leading to him spinning out on the track. He finished the race in 29th, which became a significant blow to his Cup Series championship chances. Meanwhile, Keselowski finished in third in the event.
The sparks truly began to fly after the race, with tempers flaring on pit road between the drivers.
An enraged Jeff Gordon busted his lip from brawling with Brad Keselowski after a costly race maneuver
Following the event, the real sparks flew as a brawl broke out after Jeff Gordon went directly to Brad Keselowski’s car on pit road.
Both teams’ crew quickly saw pushing and shoving, leading to Gordon and Keselowski suffering bloody lips. Kevin Harvick briefly became involved shoving Keselowski in the back. The four-time Cup Series champion’s emotions spilled over into his postrace interview as he called out Keselowski’s driving approach and credibility.
“Out of nowhere, I just got slammed by the 2, and I cut my left rear tire,” Gordon said. “I mean, he’s a dips–t. The way he races, I don’t know how he’s ever won a championship. I’m just sick and tired of it. We had the car. We had the position.”
Meanwhile, Keselowski saw it as a hole between Gordon and Johnson that he wanted to go through. He saw it as his “opportunity” to potentially grab the win that just happened to wind up in Gordon’s car becoming a casualty.
“He left a hole. You leave a hole you’re supposed to go for it,” Keselowski said. “It closed back up, and we made contact. I didn’t want to ruin anyone’s day. I just wanted to win the race. That was our opportunity. It just didn’t come together.
Keselowski held firm that the route he took in the situation centered on giving him the best chance to win.
A change of heart years later
Although Jeff Gordon’s chances weren’t entirely shot to make the final four for the 2014 Cup Series championship, the crash took a significant hit to his opportunity.
Gordon wound up landing just outside the top five in the points standings in the sixth overall spot. Meanwhile, Keselowski finished in the third spot, while Kevin Harvick earned his first Cup Series title.
A few years later, in February 2018, Gordon and Harvick recounted the incident. The two admitted that their emotions got the best of them in the physical altercation.
However, Gordon revealed a change of heart on the matter as video of the on-track collision showed him that Keselowski might have been right about there being a “hole.” (H/T NASCAR.com)
“I look back on it, I can’t say (Keselowski) did too many things wrong in that situation,” Gordon said. “But I was mad the way it turned out.”
Nonetheless, the incident remains one of the several contentious moments of Gordon’s illustrious career.