INDIANAPOLIS -- It wasn't exactly a demonstration of brotherly love. But Geoff and Brett Bodine sure did liven up the Brickyard 400. They've probably also set the stage for one heck of a family reunion next week in Watkins Glen, N.Y.
On the 99th lap, the two Bodines were racing one and two when Geoff tapped the rear bumper of Brett's car, and drove low on the race track to take the lead.
Moments later, Brett stepped on the gas and drove square into Geoff's back bumper, knocking him -- and Dale Jarrett, who got caught up in the crash as drivers scrambled to miss Geoff's spinning car -- out of the race.
"I'm OK," said Geoff, whose super-fast car wound up demolished and in 39th place. "He spun me out. We've been having family, personal problems and he took it out on me. It's a shame. He's my brother, and I love him, but he spun me out."
After Brett had gone on to finish second, he denied any premeditation and said he'd expect a reaction like that from Geoff.
"It doesn't surprise me, coming from him," said Brett. "He's going to blame it on something. That's the way he is."
The television replays appeared to give Geoff, the elder brother, a pretty good case. While Geoff had been going low for a pass when he tapped Brett, Brett did not appear to be making any move, low or high, when he rammed his car smack into Geoff's rear bumper.
"I had a better line than he did after he passed me and maybe he lost a little speed," said Brett. "I got in the throttle and we came together again. He lost control and spun.
"I would never, ever do that on purpose. I wouldn't take it out on him. I'm a professional. I'm racing cars, not people, out there, and we're paid to win."
Neither of the Bodines would say what their family squabble is about, though Brett said they have not spoken in two months.
"They're both being crybabies and jerks," said the Bodines' youngest brother, Todd, who finished ninth yesterday and added that he is not part of the family feud.
Brett said he has no immediate plans to speak to Geoff, but that they would probably speak next week.
"If we don't, Mom will no doubt make us get together, have a little talk and slap our hands," said Brett. "We have a big family reunion up there and she's pretty good at sorting us out. She had quadruple-bypass surgery last year and I think we probably made her awful nervous. She probably didn't watch the end."
What three lanes?
Before yesterday's race, six-time Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt said there were at least three racing lanes on the track.
Yesterday, just after the race took the green flag, Earnhardt had trouble finding just one.
He now has the distinction of being the first driver in the Brickyard 400 to hit the wall. He did it coming out Turn 4 on the first lap.
"I scraped the wall and we got behind," he said. "By the time we got our track position back, something else always seemed to happen. . . . We went to the front and to the back so many times, I lost count. But we ended up gaining points in the championship race, when it looked like we were going to lose a bunch."
Earnhardt finished fifth. Ernie Irvan, the points leader coming into this race, finished 17th, which means Earnhardt is back on top by 27 points in his quest for a seventh title.
Veteran A. J. Foyt, the oldest driver in the field at age 59, started 40th and finished 30th. He was running second on lap 46 and could have taken the lead when Lake Speed pitted, but Foyt ran out of gas, had to coast into the pits and lost a lap.
"If we'd had any breaks today, we could've been competitive," Foyt said. "We didn't get the mileage we thought and we ran out of fuel. That was a critical point for us. . . . I don't know if this is my last stock car race. I won't make any predictions. Next year I'll be 60 years old, and this is not a 60-year-old's game."
But then he added: "You could drive these cars till you're 80. They don't tire you out. I had fun."
Indy driver finishes
There were four other Indy Car drivers in the field besides Foyt. Here's how they finished: John Andretti, 28th; Danny Sullivan, who lost a side window on Lap 9, 33rd; and Geoff Brabham, who crashed but was running at the end, 38th.
Pole-sitter Rick Mast led the first lap, but finished 22nd. . . . Jim Nabors didn't sing "Home Again in Indiana," but he did sing the National Anthem. . . . A crowd in excess of 300,000 packed the grandstands. . . . Driver Jimmy Spencer will forever be the first last-place finisher on the first Brickyard 400. An accident knocked him out after nine laps. He was taken to Methodist Hospital after complaining of shoulder pain, but was released. . . . Mike Chase, the Winston West points leader and the only Winston West driver in the race, was taken to Methodist Hospital for neck X-rays after a crash on the 91st lap. He also was released.