Payback never materializes in finale

HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- After tangling on the track and nearly scuffling in the garage last week, Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer got much of the attention leading into NASCAR's season finale.

So seeing them at the front of the field in the closing laps Sunday made everyone wonder what would happen.

It turned out to be much ado about nothing.

Gordon won the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, finishing a few car lengths ahead of Bowyer.

"After it was over, I thought, 'Wow, I can't believe we just finished first and second after what happened last week,' " Gordon said.

So all that angst -- as well as any potential payback -- will linger into next season.

"I just really wanted to catch (Gordon)," Bowyer said. "That was the only 'what if' that went through my mind at the end. Probably went through your mind, too."

What would have happened had Bowyer run Gordon down?

"I wouldn't have took us both out," Bowyer said. "It's over. We could have done 'what ifs' last week. I'm done with 'what ifs.' "

Gordon, a four-time Cup champion, was fined $100,000 last week and docked 25 points for intentionally wrecking Bowyer at Phoenix International Raceway.

Gordon also was placed on probation through Dec. 31. But he was allowed to close out the season at Homestead despite his actions, which triggered a fight in the garage area between the drivers' crews.

Bowyer lost several positions in the Phoenix race because of the accident, but still managed to finish second in the final points standings. Gordon finished 10th.

Gordon found himself alongside Bowyer several times Sunday, wondering if anything would happen.

"I could tell he was pretty anxious and running hard," Gordon said. "I had to race with him a couple of times and there were no issues."