Gordon: Post-race apology messages 'ridiculous'
November 02, 2013, Holly Cain, NASCAR.com
Veteran chimes in on racing etiquette following Johnson-Biffle fracas
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Jeff Gordon doesn’t have a vested interest in NASCAR’s latest post-race brouhaha on pit road between Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson, who were involved in a heated exchange caught on television Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.
But the wily veteran Gordon didn't flinch when asked what he thought about proper etiquette for apologies and make-ups between drivers.
"I think it's ridiculous that we are texting and calling one another after incidents like that," the four-time champ Gordon said. "There is only one reason you call the guy and that is because you don't want a confrontation. You don't want an issue, you don't want the guy to wreck you at the next race and you are worried about where you are going to finish in points and all that stuff."
Johnson said Friday that he and Biffle exchanged texts but had not actually spoken following the emotional confrontation.
As Johnson was doing interviews with reporters on pit road last Sunday, Biffle came up from behind, grabbed Johnson's shoulder and pulled him around to angrily call him out on an incident during the race.
As the television cameras rolled and reporters stood nearby, Johnson tried to calm Biffle and offered to talk it out.
After having several days to analyze the situation, Johnson said he was totally caught off guard by Biffle's reaction.
"I don’t know what kept me from swinging, to be honest," Johnson said Friday. "You never know how you're going to react until you're in those moments. After I realized who it was, because I was caught off-guard; I didn't know where it came from. And it was a shock to see Greg because we were on the track and roughing each other pretty good for quite a few laps and I thought that everything had simmered down and was gone.
"And then truthfully, the most important thing in it all was after he grabbed me, the look in his eyes, I don't even think he looked at me. He was looking around me and saw all of you (media) standing there. I think he was just as shocked that he grabbed me like that as anyone. And I've been in a couple of fights, not many, but he didn't want to fight. He was just pissed. So, I think at the end of the day that was really the energy in that moment that let me stay calm and just kind of handle it how I did."
While Biffle apologized on Twitter for the way he handled the situation, he was still bristling about the incident (he thought Johnson knocked his rear bumper cover) this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway and made veiled references to the on-track incident and subsequent pit stop costing him dearly in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
With a lot at stake for both Biffle and championship co-leader Johnson, retaliation seems unlikely.
But Gordon says that doesn't mean all is forgotten.
"I don’t remember a whole lot of things, but I can tell you every time that I was wrecked by somebody and where they rank on the list," Gordon said laughing. "There are very few guys out there that your friendship and bond off the track is stronger than your competitiveness on the race track. I don't think that that exists a whole lot if any at all.
"Usually only the guy that is concerned about what is coming back to him is the one reaching out."