NASCAR QNA: Jeff Gordon upset, Denny Hamlin dug in, Kyle Busch gives a bleep, even Rusty Wallace takes a hit
It’s only March, and even Jeff Gordon is frustrated?
Yep, even Jeff Gordon is lobbing artillery towards NASCAR. OK, not exactly artillery, but as close as you’d expect from a company man like Jeff Gordon.
He’s angry at the severity of the penalties levied on Hendrick Motorsports for presumably tinkering with NASCAR-issued hood louvers. The Hendrick teams — and the No. 31 Kaulig Racing team — were each hit with 100-point penalties, $100,000 fines and four-race suspensions for their crew chiefs.
“We feel like if our integrity is going to be questioned, we are going to push back and appeal this for that reason,” said Gordon, Hendrick’s vice chairman and, these days, the face of the organization on race weekends.
He’s not the only one upset.
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Denny Hamlin? Kyle Busch? I can't believe that!
You guessed it, except Hamlin is more “dug in” than angry.
He admitted to "Denny's Not-So-Grand Slam," shoving Ross Chastain into the outside wall at Phoenix, and was fined $50,000 when he could’ve easily avoided that by claiming it was “one of them racin’ deals.”
In retrospect, after sleeping on the news of that fine, Denny decided to appeal, field-testing a certain rationale the "appellate court" almost certainly will reject.
It all seems part of a new normal described by Kyle Busch this past weekend. And you guessed it, not in favorable fashion.
“We’ve completely lost any sense of respect in the garage area between drivers,” Kyle said. “That’s where the problem lies. Nobody gives two (bleeps) about anyone else. It’s a problem where everybody takes advantage of everybody as much as they can.”
Geez, just wait ’til the weather heats up! By August, bleeps will be extinct.
Why drag Rusty Wallace into this?
Don't know, ask Kyle.
As he rambled a bit in his discussion of driver etiquette, and lack thereof, Busch ventured out of the racing groove for a swerve down Memory Lane and the earliest days of his NASCAR career. Let's digest it, bit by bit.
"There was an etiquette that once did live here," he said.
Yep, but trust me, it was situational.
#NASCAR … Kyle Busch on driver issues on track: “We have completely lost any sense of respect in the garage area between drivers.” pic.twitter.com/YBpKVKBHZ6
— Dustin Long (@dustinlong) March 18, 2023
Continued Kyle: "I think Mark started it, I think Tony really lived by it."
Kyle is crediting Mark Martin there, and we can't argue about Mark's gentlemanly ways, but some would suggest such class dates back, at least, to Ned Jarrett in the 1960s.
And we also assume he meant Tony Stewart, whose Emily Post handbook included a lesser-known chapter about "Laws of the Jungle." I'm no attorney, but I'm not sure I'm trotting out Tony Stewart as Exhibit A, B or C, as much as I enjoyed watching him work.
But go on, Kyle ...
"I think jeff lived by it. (And) Bobby Labonte."
We're with you there, whether you meant Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon or, for that matter, Jeff Green or Jeff Purvis. And what the hell, even Geoff Bodine. And here's where it gets interesting ...
"Rusty ... for the most part," Kyle said.
Rusty Wallace ... for the most part? Everyone else Kyle Busch named, with the possible exception of Mark Martin, should get the "for the most part" disclaimer, because they all went a tad rogue at one time or another. But somewhere along the way, Rusty must've rubbed Kyle wrong.
Poor Rusty. Been out of the car for 17 years now, and he's still catching a bumper here and there.
This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: NASCAR HEAT: Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, and Rusty Wallace?