They say everything’s bigger in Texas. Egos are no exception.
With 100 laps to go in the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson did a little side-by-side tango while fighting for the lead.
Johnson didn’t seem to like the fact Gordon wasn’t rolling out of the way for the four-time champion.
Like a dog marking his territory, Johnson lifted his leg to install a nice little ornamental doughnut on the right side of Gordon’s car.
Unfazed and very determined, Gordon continued his assault to the front while Johnson was left with a wounded fender, smoking left front tire, and a bruised ego.
It’s well-known throughout the garage that Johnson feels every driver should clear a path and let his No. 48 Lowes Chevrolet roll on by.
Being a four-time champion certainly does warrant some privileges. It's Johnson’s ego that dictates he should have carte blanche on the track.
Gordon’s determination sent a message he doesn’t subscribe to Johnson’s memos. Maybe it’s time 41 more drivers cancel their subscriptions also.
Caught up in a late race melee involving Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, and a host of others, quickly ended another valiant run at victory lane for Gordon.
Johnson, in spite of his minor mishaps, would once again press the late race magic button and steamroll his way towards the front in the final laps.
This time it would be the ailing Denny Hamlin who wouldn’t pull over for Johnson.
During their post-crash and post-race interviews, Johnson and Gordon made it clear they were not happy with the other's behavior.
Gordon said they were both great competitors and would sort this out among each other. Johnson, on the other hand, said he was disappointed with Gordon and felt it wasn’t something to be settled by the media.
Gordon has become more vocal about his frustrations with Johnson, going as far to say it has had an effect on their off-track friendship.
While Johnson feels everyone should clear a path, Gordon is the first one to publicly challenge the myth and take a stand. Hopefully others will follow.
This little tryst between teammates is more than likely over for now. Johnson should take notice though. Gordon has made it clear he will fight for a win and will not pull over to let his teammate go by.
We can only imagine what Gordon will do with a championship on the line.
Photo Credit: David L. Yeazell