By Colby Yu
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is a family owned and operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Senior in 1947–48. NASCAR is the largest sanctioning body of stock car racing in the United States. The three largest racing series sanctioned by NASCAR are the Sprint Cup Series, the Nationwide Series, and the Camping World Truck Series.
Each Sprint Cup Series in NASCAR consists of 36 races over a ten month period. Each race usually has forty-three racers competing. The winner of NASCAR is determined by the number of points a driver accumulates throughout the Season. Each driver tries to make it through the different playoff (chase) rounds. The first round (the challenger round) allows the top sixteen racers to move on and compete for the Cup. The second round (the contender round) eliminates four racers and moves the remaining twelve racers on into the next round. The eliminators are determined by the position in which the driver is placed in after the round has been completed. The bottom four racers are eliminated after each round. The third round (the eliminator round) grants the top eight racers to move on to the final round (the championship round). The Chase round in NASCAR has ten different races in a period of ten weeks.
November 2 marked the second race of the Eliminator round for the Sprint Cup. This race was held at Texas Motor Speedway—a track that measures 1.5 miles around and is banked 24 degrees in the turns and is an oval design where the front straightaway juts outward slightly. This tracks spectator area can seat over a population of 190,000 people. Many people were there to witness not only the winner of the race, but a big brawl that occurred after. This race of 337 laps had its many twists and turns throughout. There were 13 caution flags, setting a record for the 28 Sprint Cup races at Texas Motor Speedway. This race is long enough…however on Sunday, November 2, this race was continued into a double overtime. This occurs when during the final laps, a Caution occurs and the racers restart for another go at two laps. This is called a green-white-checkered. This is not only hard for the drivers, but also hard for the car. The car/team would not have enough fresh tires to run on so this would prevent them from going fast and winning the race.
During the course of this race, there were seven different leaders. The driver with the most laps led (191) was Jimmy Johnson who was also the victor at Texas Motor Speedway. Johnson won at Texas Motor Speedway four times in his career.
The way we got a winner at Texas Motor Speedway was quite the battle. On the restart with three laps to go, the leader Jeff Gordon was hit from behind by driver Brad Keselowski. Contact after the restart between Gordon and Keselowski sent Gordon’s No. 24 Chevrolet spinning. Although there was no significant body damage, Gordon had to pit to replace a flat tire under the caution. This hit pulled Gordon back to twenty-ninth. Kevin Harvick finished second, followed by Keselowski who was grabbed by Jeff Gordon after the race. That touched off a brawl between both teams in the pits.
Gordon who was upset after contact between the two during the first of two attempts at a green, white, checkered finish, pulled his car alongside Keselowski’s on pit road after the event, quickly climbed out and attempted to confront the Team Penske driver. Crewmembers of the two teams were already pushing and shoving each other as Gordon approached Keselowski. The exchange between the two drivers quickly escalated into a physical confrontation that eventually involved crewmen from both teams, as well as members of other organizations, including driver Kevin Harvick. Both Gordon and Keselowski suffered cuts to their faces in the brawl. Gordon not as much, but Keselowski had a few big hits and punches to the jaw and was bleeding significantly.
A few words during this confrontation included this one said by Gordon to his crew when asked what took place: “(Expletive) 2 car ran into us, that’s what happened. Out of nowhere I just got slammed by the 2. And I cut my left rear tire.” Another quote that Gordon said to National Television interviewed by ESPN was, “He’s just 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. We’re going to take this fire that’s inside of us and this momentum, we taking it to Phoenix and we’re going to win that race, and I’m proud of Jimmie Johnson for winning that race. I didn’t want that you-know-what (Keselowski) to win that race. … (Keselowski) gets himself in this position himself and as far as I’m concerned he’s got to pay the consequences. … It’s total crap. The kid is just doing stuff way over his head.” Another statement Gordon made after the race was “It’s emotion that is a part of this Chase and this format as well as towards people that make dumb decisions. He (Keselowski) has been making a lot of them lately.” Not only did Gordon have negative comments to say about Keselowski’s horrific driving, but other drivers did too. Many drivers were fed up with Keselowski’s driving and wanted to testify their feelings. Kevin Harvick told the public this negative quote to National Television: “If you’re going to race like that, you’re going to have to man up at some point.” “I mean, he’s done this several times. Can’t just turn around and let everybody fight all the time without you in there. Have to stand up for your actions at some point yourself.” Many drivers were all upset with Keselowski’s attitude and driving habits. All Keselowski said was “We are just racing for the win.” An interviewer who interviewed Keselowski said, “Brad, we all know that you’re fierce on the race track, but we are seeing this bubbling over race after race now. Do you think this is a fair way to deal with things on track?” Even the interviewers of NASCAR don’t like Keselowski’s attitude. They think that he is not racing fairly and they don’t think he is dealing with situations in a manly manner. Keselowski answers with this statement: “I’m still here racing, and I’m not going to change the way I race…” This shows that Keselowski doesn’t see anything wrong with the way he races even though most of NASCAR sees things wrong with it.
With all this, a few members involved in this fight were charged. This brawl was said to be continued on into the next race which was held at the Phoenix International Speedway on November 9. This was the last race of the Eliminator round before the last big race of the season which decides it all—Homestead Miami Speedway.