Clint Bowyer isn't planning to forgive Jeff Gordon for his actions at Phoenix anytime soon.
Bowyer didn't want to discuss the issue with reporters on Thursday in Las Vegas and indicated he's still upset over Gordon's intentional wreck on the last lap of the race – an incident which led to a brawl in the garage.
Gordon, meanwhile, said things are "pretty awkward" between him and Bowyer, who won't even make eye contact with Gordon behind the scenes at Champion's Week events.
"I thought he might have gotten over it at least enough to look at me, but he won't even look at me," Gordon said. "You know what? This sport needs a rivalry. Maybe this is (one)."
In the same breath, though, Gordon said a potential rivalry with Bowyer was "unlikely" because he's always gotten along with the easygoing, fun-loving Bowyer.
"He gets along with everybody, you know?" Gordon said. "Up until this point, I got along with him very well. It's not what I was expecting or anything, but it happened – and you deal with it as you go with those things."
Bowyer tried to change the subject on three different occasions when asked about Gordon on Thursday, including spinning a question about the awkwardness into an answer about how nightclubs are awkward.
When reporters kept bringing up Gordon, Bowyer sighed.
"Good God," he said. "Is that my story I have to talk about?"
Told it would likely be a topic until Bowyer resolves it, the driver retorted, "I ain't resolving it."
"It probably ain't gonna happen," he said. "It probably ain't going to get resolved this year. No more races."
A few more minutes later, Bowyer got up and left.
Gordon said he understood why fans were so surprised at his actions and said he "didn't even expect it out of myself."
"But it's been that kind of year, and sometimes things happen like that," he said. "There was obviously something that triggered it, and I would have liked to have handled it differently – but I also know why I did react the way I did."
Gordon said he learns something from every situation and would try to learn how to handle himself better next time – if others respect him on the track.
"I'm definitely going to do what I feel like I need to do to send the right message to race hard and race clean," he said. "But if that's not going to be done, I'll do it that way, too."
Since the subject is still a hot topic, even comedian Howie Mandel (who was trying to prank the drivers as a fake reporter) got in on the action.
"Is it over!?" Mandel said loudly in Gordon's ear.
Gordon, for the record, recognized Mandel through his disguise and didn't fall for the joke.