FEUD OF THE WEEK: Robby Gordon vs. Kevin Conway
Robby Gordon switches to Dodge, plans call for 18-race schedule in 2011
Kevin Conway to drive for Nemco Motorsports at Daytona
Kevin Conway files battery complaint against Robby Gordon; Gordon placed on probation by NASCARIt is rare that a feud among NASCAR drivers is more about off-the-track disputes than on-the-track, fender-to-fender action.
But the rift between Robby Gordon and Kevin Conway, which led to an alleged physical confrontation in the garage at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, is about an owner-driver relationship that has gone sour.
It started with Conway joining Gordon’s Robby Gordon Motorsports team last August. It now involves two lawsuits and an apparent physical altercation that could lead to even more legal action.
Conway, through his Exclaim marketing company, brought the Extenze sponsorship to Sprint Cup racing in 2010 with Front Row Motorsports. By mid-August, Conway and Front Row had parted ways, with Front Row later suing Conway and Extenze over whether Extenze owes Front Row money for races after the 15th race of the season.
Conway then went to Gordon’s team, where he drove seven races. Gordon put himself in the car for three races, citing a clause about keeping the car in the top 35 in owner points. Extenze supposedly refused to pay because it never approved Gordon as the driver, according to court documents.
Gordon says Extenze owes him $690,000 and has sued Extenze. Conway, meanwhile, won the Sprint Cup rookie award, and has sued Gordon for his $29,000 share of the rookie money (which NASCAR pays to the owner, not the driver). Gordon said in an interview Saturday that he would gladly give Conway that money – if Extenze pays him what he feels he is owed.
The two drives then got into an altercation Friday at Las Vegas with Conway filing a battery complaint against Gordon with local police. Whether that investigation goes anywhere remains to be seen. It also wouldn’t prevent Conway from filing a civil suit.
Neither driver would talk about the specifics of what happened Friday, but the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department confirmed Monday that Conway alleged a couple of punches were thrown by Gordon. NASCAR has put Gordon on indefinite probation. Conway was not penalized, leaving the impression that Gordon was the one who crossed the line as far as any physical contact.
Gordon has ripped Conway in the media since the start of the season. Conway failed to make the Daytona 500 and has competed in one Nationwide Series race for Nemco Motorsports.
“The guys from Extenze, I can’t even believe they’re on the race track this weekend,” Gordon said before the Daytona 500. “How do you come around and just jack two teams, sign contracts and bounce checks [and still be here]? You just don’t do that.”
Whether Conway and Gordon ever race each other again remains to be seen. What appears for sure is that the two drivers could produce more fireworks, although Gordon, who is on probation, needs to be careful.
The probation covers all his actions, but NASCAR is more likely to look the other way if Gordon and Conway make contact on the track. Granted, Gordon can ill afford damage to his race cars, but he is the owner and if he wants to take that risk to get back at Conway, that just might happen.
And if they end up talking to each other outside the courtroom, media and bystanders might want to be ready to take photos or video with their phones.
Those who intentionally live off another’s labor will always want more free stuff!