DOVER, Del. - Robby Gordon apologized for purposely wrecking Greg Biffle during Sunday's race at New Hampshire. The wreck crippled the championship hopes of Jeremy Mayfield and Tony Stewart.
But is Gordon's apology good enough?
Equally important was the way NASCAR handled the wreck. The sanctioning body penalized Gordon two laps for rough driving, hardly the kind of sanction Mayfield and Stewart wanted since they spent more than 50 laps in the garage making repairs.
Gordon bounced off the wall on Lap 17 after he was bumped by Biffle. On Lap 65, Gordon rammed Biffle to trigger a four-car pileup that involved two of the Chase for the Championship contenders.
Shortly after the first altercation, Gordon called his crew on the radio and said, "I will get him."
Tuesday, he seemed to confirm the accident was intentional, saying he let his emotions get the best of him.
In 2002, Kevin Harvick was ordered off the track during a Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville, Va., for threatening to spin Coy Gibbs, then doing it. Harvick and Gordon did the same thing: Promising on the radio to wreck a fellow driver, then doing it. Harvick was "parked" for the rest of the race; Gordon was penalized two laps.
"When you race with idiots, some things are going to happen," said Greg Zipadelli, Stewart's crew chief. "It's just disappointing."
Gordon's contract with Richard Childress Racing is up at the end of the season, and it's not likely to be renewed. In fact, Ricky Craven reportedly is on call to replace Gordon for the rest of the current season.
PIT STOPS: Television ratings aren't proving NASCAR's theory that the Chase for the Championship would pump new interest into racing during football season. Ratings for Sunday's race at New Hampshire, the first step in the 10-race Chase, were down 6 percent over last year. TNT drew a cable rating of 2.8 and was tied for sixth among other cable shows. The Dolphins-Bengals NFL game was the best, followed by ESPN's NFL pre-game show, a Law and Order rerun, SpongeBob SquarePants and WWE wrestling. ... Ward Burton, who will be replaced by Jason Leffler next year in the No. 0 Chevrolet, said he might retire rather than start a job search among second-level race teams.
Reach Don Coble at firstname.lastname@example.org.