McDowell fuming after All-Star Open run-in with Gibbs

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McDowell fuming after All-Star Open run-in with Gibbs

NASCAR

McDowell fuming after All-Star Open run-in with Gibbs

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Michael McDowell wasn’t not going to wreck Ty Gibbs, but wanted to ensure the NASCAR Cup Series rookie understood he wasn’t pleased with him during the All-Star Open.

McDowell started mirror-driving Gibbs off Turn 1 with 23 laps to go Sunday evening. Into Turn 3, McDowell ran Gibbs onto the apron, and the two slid up the track in Turn 4 to allow Josh Berry to grab the race lead.

Gibbs had been leading the event. McDowell was wounded from an earlier incident he blamed on Gibbs.

“I thought I was smart,” McDowell said. “I didn’t do anything stupid. He’s lucky he finished the race. He really is. I felt like I was very controlled in my whole demeanor and manner.”

The incident in question occurred going into Turn 3 with 43 laps to go. Gibbs got underneath McDowell, and McDowell went up into Justin Haley, who was on the far outside. McDowell and Haley crashed off Turn 4 when they both had been running inside the top five.

“He just drove me all the way through the corner and into the No. 31 and wrecked both of us,” McDowell said. “It’s pretty clear none of us were going to make the corner with the No. 54 driving me wide-open into the corner. Listen, it’s short-track racing, and we’re all trying to get into the All-Star Race. It’s a big night, so people are going to leave with hurt feelings, and tempers are going to flare. That’s part of it.

“It sucks that the guy that moved you and moved a lot of cars made it in, but at the same time, I’m not going to wreck him and spin him out or do something stupid with a broken car. I just wanted to let him know that it’s unacceptable and he knows that. He knows what he’s doing out there. He gets away with a lot more than he should.

“It was unfortunate. I felt like our FR8 Auction Ford Mustang was pretty good. We got a good restart, and we were making things happen, and then we just got nailed.”

McDowell said he was “100 percent restrained” in his reaction to Gibbs and the Front Row Racing driver said he wouldn’t have done anything to Gibbs if Berry had been closer because McDowell didn’t want to affect someone else’s race.

“I just wasn’t going to wave him by,” said McDowell. “I was going to make him go around on the outside, and he still wanted to try to go through the bottom. He was setting himself up; I should have ran him into the barrels and called it good.”

Gibbs didn’t argue McDowell’s point.

“I can understand the No. 34’s frustration,” the rookie said. “At Martinsville we were running 18th and they clobbered us and about wrecked us, so I think it’s honestly fair game. We are racing to make it in the All-Star Race, so I understand his frustration, but we got in, and that is all that matters.”

Gibbs advanced into the All-Star Race by finishing second to Berry. McDowell finished 13th in the 16-car field.

McDowell did acknowledge he’s not had any previous issues with Gibbs, but what happened Sunday was that Gibbs overstepping in Turn 3.

“It wouldn’t matter who it is,” McDowell said. “When you get run over, you’re going to be upset. I haven’t had any issues with Ty previously. It’s not like this is building up, but it wouldn’t matter if it was the No. 10, the No. 41 or the No. 48. If you get run over, you got to expect that I’m not going to just wave him by the next time I see him. So it’s just racing.”

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