After pledging to work with Jeff Gordon on the final run of Sunday's NASCAR race at Talladega Superspeedway, Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne left his childhood hero high and dry on the sprint to the finish.
Bayne expressed regret via Twitter after the race, tweeting:
@tbayne21: I'm not happy about what this has become... It's too premeditated. We should be able to go with whoever is around (us)
@tbayne21: I would have rather pulled over and finished last than tell @JeffGordonWeb I would work with him and then be strong armed into bailing
Bayne appears to be referring to the Ford Racing edict that its drivers only work with other Fords and try not to help the manufacturer's Chase rivals. (MORE: David Gilliland says he can't work with Tony Stewart due to Ford request) Bayne and Gordon previously worked together during Daytona Speedweeks, which set the stage for Bayne's upset Daytona 500 win.
After helping the youngster to his greatest career achievement earlier in the year, Gordon was upset Bayne reneged on their verbal agreement.
Gordon knew the Ford cars were under restrictions and hadn't expected Bayne's help, but believed the 21-year-old when he committed to pushing.
"I didn't expect him to commit to me on the radio," Gordon said. "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. But I think they had a different plan."
Gordon, who finished 27th after being dumped, said he found it "odd" to see Bayne bail on him, especially after their conversation. According to Gordon, Bayne approached him in the garage area after the race and said, "Hey, it wasn't me. That's what I'm being told to do."
"I just think it could have been handled better," Gordon said. "If somebody is going to screw you, you'd like them to say it to your face, you know?"
Bayne finished 15th.
Gordon realized Bayne was likely a victim of politics and acknowledged "he feels terrible about it."
"I was going to go with (Casey Mears)," Gordon said, "but Trevor lined up behind me and when he agreed to it, I said, 'Hey, we can't go with a better person than that. He's got a fast race car; we already have history of working well together' and I thought it was a no-brainer. But I probably should have known better."
When one fan tweeted Bayne and scolded him for going back on his word, Bayne tweeted his agreement.
@tbayne21: I agree. That's why I'm so sick about all this. I won't race restrictor plate races next year before I'm put in that situation
Said Gordon, when asked if Bayne was following the dreaded team orders: "It would seem to me like that's it."