Dale Jr remembers throwing the bird to the Robby Gordon crew at Bristol Motor Speedway – Also, recalls an incident with Kyle Busch
It was the 2002 Bristol Spring race. A lot happened that day. After all, it was the ‘old Bristol’ where things were just designed to go wrong.
Including, Dale Earnhardt Jr vs Robby Gordon at Bristol Motor Speedway. The video from that race is posted below. 15 years later, we’re hearing the story.
Dale Earnhardt Jr tells the story via the Dale Jr Download, “We bumped into each other on track. Just typical Bristol.”
Ironically, this was the 2002 Bristol race. The same race that Jimmy Spencer and Kurt Busch got into it while racing for the win. Kurt Busch gave Jimmy Spencer the bumper and went on to claim his first ever NASCAR Winston Cup Series win.
Behind the race for the lead Dale Jr had issues, “Me and Robby Gordon were bangin’ round each other quite a bit on the race track. He’s a lap down, I’m running 8th or 9th [4th]. There’s 10 laps to go and he’s in the way, in my mind.”
These were the days when lapped cars started on the inside row. Lead lap cars started on the outside row. Dale Earnhardt Jr restarted in 4th, the 8th car in line. He also had the freshest tires at the front.
Dale Jr continued, “I’m like, ‘Get out of the way. I wanna pass some more people.’ And I bumped him out of the way.”
“After the race, we’re kinda running each other. Coming to pit road, running into each other. I think that he knocked the radiator out of his car, running into the back of mine.”
“So, his crew comes down. That bird was for one of the crew guys, not Robby. Robby wasn’t around. The crew guys get into it. They’re typically and normally, really big.”
“That was one of the many birds that actually got caught on camera. It was common to flip people off.”
Robby Gordon finished 20th that day. At that time, it was his best career Bristol finish.
Dale Earnhardt Jr went on to finish 4th. The same position he started in on the final restart.
What if you were flipped off today?
Dale Earnhardt Jr has a plan, “You used to flip people off, all the time. Everybody did. If you got held up just a little bit by a lap car, there was gunna be a bird.”
Now, it’s kind of changed to where guys don’t like that. Everybody understands, nobody likes that. It’s become less common for people to flip people off on the race track. I think it’s more offensive today, than it used to be.”
“I’d probably just go talk to them as say, ‘Don’t flip me off.’ The last time I got flipped off, I went to the driver. I went up in his hauler and asked him not to do that.
Who was it? Dale Jr declares, “It was Kyle Busch.”
This weekend, Dale Earnhardt Jr makes his final start at Bristol. At least his final as a full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competitor.
Additionally, he will be running the NASCAR Xfinity Series event. That race takes pace tonight, under the lights.
Author: Shane Walters