Although NASCAR had once urged its drivers to "have at it" on the track, they appeared inclined to have little of it.
That is, until bedlam erupted at Phoenix International Raceway.
By the time the smoke literally cleared and Kevin Harvick had won the race, the sold-out crowd of 87,000 had witnessed the following:
"I'm disappointed in the quality of racing that we saw," Brad Keselowski said. "It was absolutely ridiculous, and I was ashamed to be a part of it."
Sunday's AdvoCare 500 was the next-to-last race of the season, and Johnson arrived with a seven-point lead over Keselowski in the Sprint Cup standings.
But on Lap 234 of the race's scheduled
"I just hate for our day to turn out as it did," Johnson said. "We still have to go to Homestead and race, and anything can happen down there."
Keselowski finished sixth after threading his No. 2 Dodge through the cars crashing at the end. He can clinch his first title at Homestead-Miami if he places 15th or better, regardless of how Johnson finishes.
"I wanted to take the points lead by winning a race and not relying on a failure," Keselowski said of Johnson's setback.
Gordon had been annoyed with Bowyer's driving for some time. As Sunday's race neared its end, Gordon's car was hit by Bowyer's and Gordon then waited until Bowyer came around and wrecked him.
"I'd just had it," Gordon said. "Clint has run into me numerous times, wrecked me, and he got into me on the back straightaway and pretty much ruined our day. I got him back."
Asked whether he expected to be penalized, Gordon replied: "They've got to do what they've got to do, and I had to do what I had to do."
Said Bowyer, "It's pretty embarrassing for a four-time (NASCAR) champion ... to act like that. I barely rubbed him and then all of a sudden I feel him trying to retaliate."
NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said the situation would be looked at further this week.
Harvick has had his share of skirmishes with other drivers as well and when asked about the garage brawl, said, "Fights are what made NASCAR what it is."
NHRA: Antron Brown became the first black champion in any NHRA pro series when he won the Top Fuel title at the season-ending event in Pomona.
He lost in the opening round of eliminations and had to wait to celebrate until the final, when Tony Schumacher lost to Brandon Bernstein.
"I feel so blessed to be in this moment right now," said Brown, who drives for Don Schumacher Racing.
Also, Jack Beckman claimed the Funny Car title for Schumacher.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.