Dale Earnhardt Jr. And Jeff Gordon At Fontana: We're Over Bristol Incident

On Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon were battling for sixth place 140 laps from the finish. But during some tight racing between the Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Earnhardt Jr. inadvertently cut Gordon's left-rear tire with his tailpipe and caused the No. 24 car to hit the wall and suffer heavy damage to the No. 24 Chevrolet.

Afterward, the four-time series champion was not pleased with Earnhardt Jr. and said the two were racing one another too hard. He suggested in the future, he might race his teammate differently.

On Friday at Auto Club Speedway, Gordon said there was a time and place for hard racing – and that point in the Bristol race wasn't it.

"I've got respect for Dale, and I know he has that for me as well," Gordon said. "We enjoy being teammates. I think we learned a little bit from that situation about when the time to race hard is and when it isn't.

"If that's for the win or for the position at the end of the race, we get it. But I think we both agreed it probably wasn't the best thing to do as teammates that early into a restart with that many laps to go."

When Earnhardt Jr. met with the media on Friday at Auto Club Speedway, he acknowledged speaking with Gordon during the week and said he doesn't anticipate there will be any issue in the future.

"We talked and I feel pretty good about how that went," Earnhardt Jr. said. "We should have no problem going forward. It was an unfortunate situation, especially for him. I'm sure it stings a little bit for him and the team. We will just see."

Earnhardt Jr., who went on to finish 15th after a pit road speeding penalty curtailed what had been a good run for him, doesn't think Gordon will race him any differently.

"It was just a freak situation and you kind of got to remember that, and not really beat yourself up too much about it," Earnhardt Jr. said. "Jeff has a good reputation in this sport and I've got a lot of respect for him and enjoy being his teammate. I've learned a lot from him even before we were teammates, just racing him over the years. He has been here a long time and I think we will be able to race each other without any problems.

"I think he respects me and I respect him. We will be able to move forward without any problems."

The thing that most baffled Gordon about the incident was how Earnhardt Jr.'s tailpipe was able to make contact with his tires.

"It was a case where the tailpipe just lined up perfectly on the left-rear, which really to me is the much bigger issue than the contact between me and Junior," Gordon said. "I don't understand why the tailpipes are even capable of getting to the left rear tire. If that happens at a big, fast speedway, it's a much bigger incident than that was. I'd like to see that addressed."

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