LONG POND, Pa. -- NASCAR benched owner/driver Robby Gordon Sunday morning at Pocono Raceway, prohibiting him from competing in the Nextel Cup Series' Pennsylvania 500. NASCAR took the action after Gordon flaunted several NASCAR rules and directives from officials in Saturday afternoon's Busch Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.
Gordon's No. 7 Ford, which he qualified in 30th position, will be driven in the race by P.J. Jones. Jones will drop to the rear of the 43-car field at the start due to the driver change.
NASCAR last sat a Cup driver in April 2002 at Martinsville Speedway when Kevin Harvick was held out of the Cup race after he was involved in a flagrant rough driving incident in that Saturday's Craftsman Truck Series race, followed by a confrontation with NASCAR officials.
On Saturday, Ramsey Poston, NASCAR managing director, corporate communications, outlined the chain of events that led to Gordon's penalty. "Once the caution came out on Lap 72 the field was frozen. Once the field is frozen, all cars must maintain cautious pace in order to be scored.
"At the time that the field was frozen, the [Marcos Ambrose] was in the lead. [Robby Gordon] did not maintain cautious pace and by NASCAR rule, cars not maintaining cautious pace are scored only when they blend back into the continuous line. [Gordon], based on our scoring was ordered to blend back in behind [Ron Fellows] in front of [Mike Wallace].
"The tower ordered [Gordon] multiple times to get into position. The directive was acknowledged by [Gordon's] crew chief and the crew chief also communicated the order to [Gordon]. The driver ignored NASCAR's directive. "He was warned that he would be black flagged if he did not comply. Once [Gordon] crossed the start-finish line he was posted per the NASCAR rule book and at that time the directive to display the black flag was given.
"After contact with [Ambrose] on Lap 73, NASCAR took emergency action per the rule book Section12-2, thus parking [Gordon], which was also ignored. The black flag with the white cross was displayed to [Gordon] when [he] crossed the start-finish line on lap 74. [Gordon] finished the race in the 18th position."
After the event Gordon protested the calls vigorously and proclaimed he had won the race. He met with NASCAR president Mike Helton for more than an hour after the race.
A NASCAR spokesperson said further sanctions against Gordon would be considered at the sanctioning body's early-week competition meeting.