Clint Bowyer isn’t ready to let bygones be bygones, but he certainly doesn’t want to dwell on “the incident.”
The incident occurred a week ago in Phoenix when Jeff Gordon intentionally caused Bowyer to wreck.
That was in retaliation for an incident in the spring at Martinsville when Bowyer and Gordon tangled at the end of a race, costing Gordon a chance at winning that event.
So, what could be more fitting, also dramatic and contentious, than Gordon and Bowyer finishing 1-2 in the Ford EcoBoost 400 Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In fact, at various times during the race the two rivals were running side by side.
This time, no metal got crunched.
Bowyer has remained mainly silent about being wrecked by Gordon in the Phoenix race, but addressed it in passing after his second-place finish Sunday at Homestead.
“Last week, he got me back,” Bowyer said.
Then Bowyer tried to speed away, to put it in race-car terms, from the controversy.
“Can we go home?” he asked. “What are we doing what-ifs for? It’s over. We could have done what-ifs last week.”
That might be true if Bowyer wasn’t quite so silent all week.
Bowyer did admit he went all out to overtake Gordon at the end of Sunday’s race.
“I really wanted to catch the No. 24 [Gordon’s car],” he said. “That was the only thing that went through my mind at the end. No, I wouldn’t have taken both of us out. But I would’ve loved to have won that race, especially to beat him [Gordon].”
Bowyer came up 1.028 seconds short.
Whether intended or not, Bowyer offered a compliment to one of the drivers in the race, and that driver’s name wasn’t Jeff Gordon. Bowyer singled out Brad Keselowski, the Sprint Cup champion for the season, without mentioning race winner Gordon.
“I want to say congratulations to Brad,” he said. “A lot of people go through a lot of different roads to get to this level in this sport, and it’s pretty neat to see the way they battled through everything and finally found themselves with a championship. Pretty cool.”
One thing did surprise Bowyer following Sunday’s race — that was when he learned he had finished second in the season point standings.
“I didn’t see that coming,” he said. “I had no idea. I didn’t even think I could reach second.”
Bowyer knew exactly how he was going to put all the recent controversy and uproar far, far behind him.
“I will do whatever I want to do next week,” he said. “Exactly whatever I want to do, whatever I feel like.
“Probably going to have some beers. Then I’m probably going to go hunt something. Then I’ll have another beer.”
This and that
Keselowski’s winning point total for the season was 2,400. Bowyer was second with 2,361, and one point further back was Jimmie Johnson at 2,360. Kasey Kahne (2,345) and Greg Biffle (2,332) rounded out the top five.
• Paul Wolfe, Keselowski’s crew chief, is the first person to win both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series titles.