NASCAR: Keselowski Doesn’t Think Gordon’s Insight Is ‘Fair Play’

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /

Following Monday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Pocono, Brad Keselowski was none to happy with four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon. Ahead of Michigan the two had a chance to speak one-on-one but that didn’t seem to resolve much.

During the race at Pocono, Keselowski was penalized after one of his crew members appeared to hip-check his No. 2 machine during a pit stop. The action resulted in a dent to the side of the car which Gordon and the booth said could provide an advantage on the track. Keselowski was then required to pit in order to fix the modification, and then pit again to serve a penalty.

While serving his pass-through penalty, Gordon mentioned a previous incident this season in Las Vegas where it appeared to him as though the No. 2 team did the same thing. The only difference in Vegas was that NASCAR did not ‘catch’ them per say and Keselowski ended up winning that race.

After Pocono Keselowski got word of Gordon’s comments and took some shots at him for being biased in the booth. Kes also spoke about how guys who have ownership stake in teams should not be in the booth calling races and critiquing other teams.

Heading into Michigan, Keselowski and Gordon had the chance to speak face-to-face about the incident, albeit in front of cameras. Despite Gordon apologizing on Twitter about his on-air comments, there was still some friction left between the two, which lead to the one-on-one conversation. Unfortunately, from Keselowski’s comments afterwards via Ford Racing, it doesn’t appear as though the two of them were able to find much middle-ground.

"I think there are certainly some different opinions. I don’t necessarily know if that is going to change but it is nice to be able to have those conversations in a one-on-one format. Of course there was a camera there so I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Probably a little bit of both. I feel like it is good and hopefully we can move on. My big thing is that I don’t want somebody that is invested in another team talking about my race car in a derogatory form or a perceived derogatory form. I don’t think that is right and I am going to defend my team in those situations no matter who it is. It doesn’t have to be one particular person. Beyond that, I think he has a position that requires his insight but there are some limitations to what insight I think is fair play for that position when you are still invested in the sport. I feel like that was over the line. Not just that particular example but other examples on other broadcasts. I just want to make sure that if anyone wants to criticize me and how I drive the race car that is one thing, but not my team and not things that could be perceived as self-serving."

There are always multiple ways to interpret things but when it comes to Keselowski and Gordon, it seems to be pretty clear what Keselowski’s real issue is.

The bottom line is that Gordon knows the tricks of the trade if you will since he himself was racing just last season with all of these guys. Gordon knows the nuances of the sport and what drivers and teams will do and try to do to push that proverbial envelope. This has very little to do with Gordon having a bias against Team Penske, Keselowski or any other NASCAR team. Instead, this has to do with the fact that Kes and his team pushed the envelope too far, Gordon saw it, knew what they were doing, may or may not have done the same thing in his career and then called them out for it on national TV.

Keselowski saying that some of Gordon’s insight “isn’t fair play” is the same as him saying that he doesn’t like the fact that Gordon know and comments on things that would not be commented on if he wasn’t in the booth. Now, one could argue that if a HMS driver did the same thing that Gordon might not call them out for it, but until that happens, that argument is moot.

At the end of the day if Keselowski doesn’t want Gordon analyzing his team with a critical eye about questionable decisions, they should probably stop making questionable decisions. Or better yet, Kes and the No. 2 team could simply focus on racing and not about what Gordon is saying about their penalty in the broadcast booth.

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All of this should have ended once NASCAR decided there wasn’t going to be any further punishment for the No. 2 team after Pocono. Instead, it is still a topic because Keselowski got upset that Gordon called him out for what his team was doing and he tried to call Gordon out in return.