FILE - In this Oct. 12, 2012 file photo, Jeff Gordon waits before practice for the NASCAR Bank of America 500 Sprint Cup series auto race in Concord, N.C. NASCAR has a real dilemma on its hands with this whole Gordon mess hanging over the season finale, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (AP Photo/Bob Jordan, File)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon avoided suspension Monday when NASCAR instead fined him $100,000 and docked him 25 points for intentionally wrecking Clint Bowyer at Phoenix International Raceway.
Gordon was also placed on probation through Dec. 31. But he'll be allowed to close out the season Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway despite his actions in Sunday's race, which triggered a fight in the garage area between the two crews.
"I take responsibility for my actions on the racetrack," Gordon said in a statement. "I accept NASCAR's decision and look forward to ending the season on a high note at Homestead."
Rick Hendrick was also docked 25 car owner points, and crew chief Alan Gustafson was placed on probation through the end of the year.
"I've always respected Jeff for standing his ground," said Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "We also respect that NASCAR needs to police the sport and send a message when situations like this occur. It's been a great year, and we're going to put our focus on finishing in a positive way this weekend."
Bowyer crew chief Brian Pattie was fined $25,000 and placed on probation through the end of the year.
NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton considered the matter closed after issuing the penalties.
"There's no doubt that a unique set of circumstances combined with a championship battle on the line resulted in raw emotions coming into play," he said. "We consider the penalties appropriate and those involved understand our decision and we expect them to abide by them."
Meanwhile, Brad Keselowski was fined $25,000 and placed on probation for having an electronic device inside the car — the phone he used to tweet during a red flag period caused by Gordon wrecking Bowyer. Keselowski first did it during a red flag at the season-opening Daytona 500, and NASCAR later banned the practice.