Jeff Gordon is one of the most legendary drivers to ever compete in motorsports and NASCAR. Tony Stewart is also one of the greatest drivers to ever compete in racing. While they certainly seem to have significant mutual respect for each other, the two haven’t always been super tight. In fact, Gordon once even threatened to “slam” Stewart “into the wall” when the two men were just young drivers in 2000.
Jeff Gordon is a NASCAR legend
When people think of the most legendary NASCAR drivers of all-time, Jeff Gordon almost immediately comes to mind.
According to his site, Gordon — a NASCAR Hall of Famer — won four Cup Series championships between 1995 through 2001. He is also third on the NASCAR all-time wins list with 93 career Cup wins, and won the Daytona 500 three times as well as the Brickyard 400 five times. Gordon is also third on the NASCAR Cup pole list.
Gordon made 797 consecutive starts in his career, too. He actually didn’t miss one start as a full-time driver from 1993 through 2015.
“He started the youth movement that truly introduced our sport to a lot of young fans at a crucial time and is credited with helping grow the fan base exponentially,” Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip said of Gordon, according to USA Today.
Gordon has since joined FOX as an analyst.
Tony Stewart is also an all-time great
While Gordon is one of the most legendary drivers in NASCAR history, Tony Stewart is as well.
Stewart — also a NASCAR Hall of Famer — won three NASCAR cup championships in 2002, 2005, and 2011 and is the only driver to ever win both a Cup Series and an IndyCar title. Stewart additionally won his 2011 Cup title not only as a driver but as a team owner. He also won the 2014 Cup title as a team owner when Kevin Harvick won the championship.
“The bulk of the time, I knew I had to be on my game. I mean the guy’s tenacious. If you left the slightest opening, he was going to take it,” Jimmie Johnson said of Stewart, according to NASCAR.com. “I just respected that and enjoyed it. … I knew when that orange hood was coming, I was fighting for my life.”
Jeff Gordon once threatened to ‘slam’ Stewart ‘into the wall’
Stewart and Gordon seem to have a cool relationship now.
“I’ve gained so much admiration and respect for Tony. I love this guy,” Gordon said in 2016, according to USA Today.
In a 2000 race at Watkins Glen, though, Stewart and Gordon bumped into each other three times during the second lap before Stewart “forced Gordon’s car into the guard rail, leaving it heavily damaged,” according to Sporting News.
The two then later got into an argument after the race.
“Next time you get alongside me, I’ll slam you into the wall the first chance I get,” Gordon said, according to Sporting News.
While going back-and-forth, Stewart also made his issue with Gordon very clear.
“You’re always telling me to take it easy on the first lap,” he said, according to Sporting News. “All I’m saying is make up your mind.”
It appears that the two got over it quickly, though. Stewart downplayed everything a couple of weeks later, Sporting News reported.
“When something like what happened at Watkins Glen two weeks ago occurs, people make such a big deal out of it because it doesn’t happen that often,” Stewart said, according to Sporting News. “Jeff and I didn’t get in a fight. We had an argument. We had a disagreement. … It seems like in this sport, since it is such a clean sport, any time something just a little different happens, it tends to get blown up pretty big.”
Stewart also seemingly took blame years later. According to the IndyStar, when getting interviewed by Gordon in 2016, Stewart said that he was rough around the edges during that time.
Over the years, Stewart and Gordon have proven that they have a ton of respect for each other. That respect didn’t keep them from getting into it from time to time, though.