DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Has the feud between Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon been defused?
Perhaps only rap and R&B mogul Sean "P. Diddy" Combs knows for sure.
There were reports floating on Twitter and the Internet during the offseason that the Sprint Cup drivers might have made amends at a New Year's Eve party aboard Combs' $72 million yacht that drew a large NASCAR contingent. Bowyer tweeted a photo of himself with former Richard Childress Racing teammate Kevin Harvick aboard the yacht, and Gordon's wife, Ingrid Vandebosch, tweeted thanks to Combs for an invitation to the party in St. Bart's.
"I was on the damndest boat you've ever seen in your life," Bowyer said Thursday during the opening session of Preseason Thunder at Daytona International Speedway. "We don't have big boats in Kansas. I think (Gordon) was on that same boat. There was a lot of other people on there. It was a big time being had. I'm pretty sure he was on there. It was pretty late. Let's put it that way."
So did he put aside the lingering animosity from the Nov. 11 race at Phoenix International Raceway, where Gordon wrecked him intentionally?
"Yeah, we held hands and walked on the boat, discussed the past year and enjoyed ourselves throughout the whole vacation," Bowyer said sarcastically. "That was the one person that I definitely wanted to vacation with. Yes. I could not wait to get there for that very reason. Is that what you wanted me to say?"
Bowyer, who finished runner-up to Gordon in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and to Brad Keselowski for the Cup title, has been reticent to elaborate on the incident in multiple interview sessions since Phoenix. Gordon said it's been "pretty awkward … he won't even look at me" when asked about it during Champion's Week in Las Vegas in late November.
In Las Vegas, Bowyer said "it probably ain't going to get resolved this year," and he grew a tad agitated ("Already? This is 2013.") when two questions in the first five minutes of his first interview of the year focused on if there's been any progress.
"Who cares?" he asked. "Really, who cares? Apparently, you guys do way more than we do."
Bowyer was asked if he planned to let the situation with Gordon linger without giving a definitive answer.
"Yes," he said, smiling. "If it bothers you, yes."
Gordon was scheduled to meet with the media after Thursday's afternoon session.