Bowyer leaves teammate behind
Posted: Monday, October 24, 2011 7:01 pm
By JENNA FRYER
AP Auto Racing Writer
TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Teamwork meant very little in the closing laps at Talladega Superspeedway.
Unless, of course, you were driving a Ford.
Clint Bowyer bailed on teammate Jeff Burton on the last lap of Sunday’s race, pulling around him when the checkered flag was in sight to pick up his first win of the season and the 100th in the Sprint Cup Series for Richard Childress Racing.
“You hate that it comes down to that; it is what it is,” shrugged Bowyer. “You owe it to your team, to your sponsors to go out and win the race. Unfortunately, it came down to that situation.”
Burton and the RCR bunch understood that’s how the game is played.
The grumbling was far behind the leaders, where Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne ditched Jeff Gordon because Bayne was part of a pact made by Ford drivers to only push fellow Ford drivers in an effort to help Roush Fenway Racing drivers Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth in the championship race.
Gordon was seventh on the final restart and thought Bayne was committed to pushing him over the last two laps. Instead, Bayne backed off, and Gordon, with no help, faded to 27th. An animated Bayne went immediately to Gordon’s car after the race.
“I’m not happy about what this has become,” he posted on Twitter in reference to Talladega’s two-car drafting style and the reliance on partners.
Gordon said he was deceived.
“The Fords made it very clear about what they were doing in working with one another,” Gordon said. “So I didn’t expect him to commit to me on the radio. I expected him to say, ‘Man, I’m sorry, I can’t.’ And when he said, ‘Yeah, I’m pushing you, we’re good,’ I believed him.” Published in The Messenger 10.24.11