Gordon’s tough: yeah, right

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 1, 2006

Jeff Gordon warns that the world will start seeing &uot;a more truer Jeff Gordon and who I really am.&uot; This was said after delivering a two-handed shove into Matt Kenseth after the race in Bristol last week. Gordon was really ticked when Kenseth got into his back bumper on the last lap of the race. A third place finish turned into a 21st in a split second.

Boy, Gordon is turning into a Bad Boy and I guess in some sort of weird way he is trying to warn all the other drivers. Like Jim Croce sang &uot;don’t mess around with Jeff.&uot;

Who is he trying to kid? Don’t overlook the fact that Kenseth, sans helmet, approached Gordon’s car in the pits in an attempt to apologize for the bump. Gordon, with full gear intact, gave him the shove after making sure the television cameras were in the correct position and that guy that looks like a professional wrestler was nearby to intervene when things turned rough. Jeff Gordon is about as much of a bad boy as Michael Waltrip is a shy introvert.

Gordon is probably upset that NASCAR only fined him $10,000 for the shove. Tony Stewart got fined a lot more than that for punching the photographer in the mouth a few years ago. Only the real bad boys get the big fines, 10 grand is chicken feed.

Heck, Dale Jr. was docked $25,000 just for being happy and swearing a little bit in victory lane at Talladega two years ago.

It was a weird weekend in Bristol. Cup qualifying was snowed out, drivers endured a snow delay during the Busch race, Kevin Harvick spoke incessantly about doing bodily harm to Kurt Busch, and then Busch beat him to win the race. I think Harvick might have the last laugh, though. That little snow angel celebration that Busch attempted on the start/finish line was pretty embarrassing. Oh yeah, the strangest thing was Jeff Gordon turning into a bad boy.

Maybe things will return more to normal this week at Martinsville. This is the 115th cup race at Martinsville since NASCAR started racing at the paper clip shaped half-mile track in 1949.

Among active drivers, Jeff Gordon leads with seven career wins, well ahead of the next biggest winner, Mark Martin, with two wins. Gordon also has an average finish of seventh in 26 career races. That’s pretty impressive. If Gordon wins this race, he might even rip the cap off a bottle of Pepsi with his teeth, since he is such a bad boy now.

This race will be first that will use 2006 owners’ points for qualifying. That means that Scott Riggs, David Stremme, Scott Wimmer, and Travis Kvapil, all outside the top 35, will have to make the race on speed. It also means that those drivers teetering around 35th can’t afford to have a bad race.

My pick to win the race is Tony Stewart, but look for Bobby Labonte to have another strong showing for Petty, and Dale Jr. will continue to use his head and come away with another good finish.