incident shakes up points
July 26, 1999 - By Brett Borden, NASCAR Online
FOUNTAIN, Colo. - After Saturday's incident with Todd Bodine, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has
dropped to a 24-point deficit behind points leader Matt Kenseth.
Just like last year, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth sit atop the NASCAR Busch Series
Grand National Division point standings with a healthy cushion on the rest of the field.
So much for drama, right? Guess again.
A trip to Pikes Peak International Raceway has the points leaders pushing and shoving like
kids playing King of the Mountain.
Whether he intended to or not, Todd Bodine has stirred things up in the NASCAR Busch
Series following a late incident with Earnhardt Jr. in Saturday's NAPA AutoCare 250. With
10 laps to go in the race, Little E was racing side by side with the little brother of
Geoffrey and Brett Bodine, until contact between the two sent Earnhardt into the wall. It
also dropped him from a fourth or fifth-place finish to a 36th-place effort, and from
first to second in the points.
A visibly frustrated Earnhardt Jr. verbally chastised Bodine on ESPN after the accident.
"Nobody else had any problem getting by us," said Earnhardt. "He can't get
by us without wrecking."
After the race, Bodine stepped up to the plate and apologized for his role in the Turn 2
accident. But that was before he was told of Earnhardt's comments.
"He's running his mouth," said Bodine. "He's upset. He's better than that.
You can't hold grudges when you race every week. It was a racing deal. I got a run on him
and he tried to pinch me down. I tried to keep him up and he got loose. I shouldn't say
this but I will&if he had more experience he would have said 'let this guy go and
Bodine also told reporters of an earlier incident between the two drivers, where he felt
he was the victim of an overaggressive Earnhardt Jr. at Nazareth Speedway.
Then Bodine's comments were relayed to Earnhardt Jr., who seemed agitated all over again.
"You know, he ran into me during a caution in Nazareth," said Earnhardt.
"So I don't know what he's talking about when he refers to Nazareth. I think the best
thing I can do is bite my tongue on the whole deal. Because whatever I do or say will get
criticized in the media. You can say this, though. I will hold a grudge over this until,
well, you know. They say what goes around usually comes back around."
After Earnhardt Jr.'s misfortune, Kenseth instantly shot from a 62-point deficit to a
24-point lead over his friend and rival. Jeff Green, who was 198 points behind the leader
before Saturday, is now only 112 points back. Bodine's deficit has shrunk from 359 points
Just like that, the points race is interesting again.
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