Tensions were running high during last night’s race at Dover International Speedway, following the Apache Warrior 400 race.
The playoff sixteen were fighting hard to avoid elimination and to earn more points. As the race wound down and the final laps were being run, we saw Chase Elliott – who was galloping towards his first Cup Series race win – experience some issues with lap traffic.
One of the drivers who was desperately trying not to go a lap down but who ended up being in the way of Elliott, was Ryan Newman.
Some say he could have pulled up to a different line to allow Elliott to pass without any hold-ups. However, he didn’t and it caused Elliott to lift off the throttle and allowed Kyle Busch to catch up, use it to his advantage and clinch a race win with only two laps left.
The drama from the closing laps, then spilled onto pit road – as it often does – when an annoyed Jeff Gordon made a comment as Newman exited his car. Clearly disgruntled by Elliott’s loss of the lead, Gordon said sarcastically:
“Thanks for the help.” – Jeff Gordon
As expected, Newman was disappointed for coming up two points short for the amount he needed to advance through to the next round, and angrily responded with:
“Don’t you think I was racing for my own position?
Just watch what you say, man.
You said it as a smartass.”
Gordon then claimed he didn’t mean any malice with what he said, and later footage shows that the two made up and talked about it like adults.
— John Haverlin (@JohnHaverlin) October 1, 2017
There’s no denying that things are definitely heating up as this season comes to a close. Last night’s race was particularly eventful and feisty as playoff drivers scuffled for positions and did whatever they thought would give them the best advantage and chances of making it through to the next round.
Newman was only doing what any dedicated driver would do – and that’s racing for himself.
Some will berate Newman for not allowing Elliott to pass, and some would say he did the right thing in concentrating solely on his own predicament. Regardless of what people think, we saw some amazing racing last night – let’s hope that there’s much more of that to come in the final few weeks of this 2017 season.