Up until that point, the confrontation between Keselowski and Gordon seemed to be headed in the direction of the typical baseball “fight,” lots of guys (and Jamie Little) standing around yelling and pushing, but no punches being thrown.
But Harvick’s push put Keselowski within range of Gordon, who reached out and grabbed him. That’s when all hell broke loose. Harvick was nowhere to be seen, however, slinking off into the shadows after triggering a fight that would put most minor league hockey brawls to shame.
NASCAR rightfully came down hard on the crewmembers involved with fines and suspensions announced Tuesday, but it elected to let Harvick go unpunished. If it had been a hockey game, he would have received a game misconduct for being the third man in.
"If you're going to drive like that, you'd better be willing to fight," Harvick had said after the race. "It's like I told him, 'If you're going to drive like a madman, you'd better be willing to take a few punches.' He was going to stand behind his guys. Jeff Gordon deserved to at least have a face-to-face conversation with him.
"I said (to Keselowski), 'You're the problem. Get in your own fight.'"
All that may be true, but the question is: Who died and made Harvick sheriff? And remember, Harvick has already said there’s no way Matt Kenseth will win the Chase after the pair collided at Martinsville.
Actually, Harvick is more Deputy Dawg than Wyatt Earp, but that’s beside the point.
With all eight Chase eligible drivers still in the running for the finale, the circus now heads to Phoenix, appropriately just up the road from the Tombstone and the O. K. Coral. At least that one was a relatively fair fight, the three Earps and Doc Holliday against four Cowboys. So the Earps brought shotguns. But that’s nothing like was Keselowski will face. About the only person he can count on not to put him into the wall is teammate Joey Logano, who has had his own run-ins with Marshall Harvick and others.
That’s a fact not lost on Denny Hamlin.
"It's hard to win a championship on your own," said Hamlin on Tuesday. "I feel like I've learned the hard way that that these guys can make your job hard, if they really want to. You've just gotta have some kind of friends out there in some kind of way."
Somehow I don't think Keselowski feels the same way.