Jeff Gordon was ticked that his driver — who drives a car that Gordon owns half of — lost Sunday’s race at Dover when Kyle Busch drove around him with just over one lap to go.
Meanwhile, Ryan Newman was equally ticked — perhaps more so because he had just fallen two points short of advancing into the second round of the NASCAR Cup playoffs.
So when Gordon made an off-hand comment to Newman, the latter took umbrage to it. Gordon quickly retreated, trying to downplay his comments, likely not wanting to get into an even worse confrontation with Newman, perhaps one that may have turned physical.
On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, Steve Letarte — Gordon’s former crew chief — and Parker Kligerman gave their takes on the Gordon-Newman dust-up of sorts.
“A simple exchange became this big of a topic because of the pressure of the playoffs,” Letarte said. “In Race 20, I think Ryan Newman let’s it pass. But not at the end of the round that he was knocked out of. … The pressure goes up and so does the disappointment if you’re the car eliminated.”
Kligerman, meanwhile, agreed with Newman for being incensed at Gordon’s off-hand remark.
“I definitely think Ryan Newman is in the right,” Kligerman said. “Jeff Gordon said what he had to say and has a right to do that. There’s emotions after these races … and especially for drivers when you’ve gotten knocked out of the playoffs and didn’t have the first three races you wanted, as Ryan Newman had, anything said your way I think you’re going to go after it all day.
“Both of them were completely in the right in what happened there. But I definitely would be in Jeff’s shoes afterward and say, ‘No I didn’t say it the I think you heard it.'”
BRANDT returns for third year with JR Motorsports in Xfinity Series
BRANDT Professional Agriculture will return as a sponsor for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series, the team announced Wednesday.
The company will be a primary sponsor of Justin Allgaier‘s No. 7 Chevrolet in 19 races and an associate sponsor of Allgaier and his three teammates the rest of the season.
Brandt has sponsored Allgaier for eight years, including the last three with JR Motorsports.
Allgaier is a native of Riverton, Illinois, which is 15 miles from Springfield, Illinois, where the company is headquartered.
Allgaier, 31, is coming off his second season that ended with him in the Championship 4. He earned two wins, 10 top five and 17 top-10 finishes. He also led a series-high 495 laps among Xfinity regulars.
NASCAR has changed how it determines the Rookie of the Year in all three national series, it announced Thursday.
The new system, which will debut in a month at Daytona International Speedway, reflects the points system that decides the champion in each series, including the stage format in races.
A race win will earn a rookie candidate 40 points and five playoff points. A second-place finish will is worth 35 points and a third-place finish is 34 points, etc.
A rookie candidate who wins a stage will earn 10 points and one playoff point.
“The focus on our rising stars has never been stronger and simplifying the Sunoco Rookie of the Year system made perfect sense,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing operations in a press release. “Our fans track closely the progress of our young drivers and matching the Sunoco Rookie of the Year points structure with the championship points will help them follow this prestigious program and award more closely than ever before.”
Watkins Glen International and Michigan International Speedway announced multi-year sponsorship deals for their Cup Series races Thursday.
WGI announced the Aug. 5 race at the road course will be sponsored by GoBowling.com. The 90-lap race will be called “Go Bowling at the Glen.”
This is not the first time the bowling brand has sponsored a Cup event. It sponsored the spring race at Kansas Speedway from 2016-17 and the August event at Pocono Raceway from 2013-14.
As part of the deal, Go Bowling will have two bowling lanes at the track for the race weekend.
Michigan has renewed its sponsorship deal with FireKeepers Casino Hotel for its June Cup race for “many years.”
The hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan, began its relationship with MIS by sponsoring pole day in 2014. It began sponsoring the June race in 2016.
TheFireKeepers Casino 400 is scheduled for June 10.
ISM Raceway (Phoenix) also announced the title sponsor for its March 11 Cup race.
The event will called the TicketGuardian 500.
TicketGuardian is a mobile ticketing insurance provider. When fans purchase tickets to events at ISM Raceway, they will be given the option to add TicketGuardian’s ticket protection coverage. This allows fans to have insurance on the tickets they’ve purchased in advance.