The race at Texas started out decently for Jeff Gordon as he was running in the top five. Though a flat tire and contact with the wall would result many laps behind the wall for repairs. In the words of the four-time champion, it was disappointing and took away the momentum that they had.
However, it didn’t hinder Gordon’s confidence as he beleives in his team. After all, they’ve got a win, eight top fives and 17 top 10s in the 34 races ran this year.
“The confidence is still high,” he commented. “The car was fantastic again this past weekend, felt like we were going to have a great weekend.”
Instead of a great weekend, Gordon was dealt a 38th place finish and slips to sixth in the points. While some view it as bad luck, Gordon thinks otherwise, in saying everything happens for a reason.
“I think there’s a cause behind it,” Gordon said. “The question is whether we caused it or did it run over something. If I ran over something, then I guess you could maybe call that bad luck.
“Until I know more details, I don’t want to say it’s bad luck. We’ve certainly had our share of that this year. In order to get up there and be a threat for the championship, you can’t have things like that happen. It’s unfortunate. Certainly sort of took the wind out of our sails, the momentum we had.”
Regardless whether bad luck or caused for a certain reason, the result is a disappointing result, which in return Gordon says is a letdown to the whole team.
“I was just sitting there going, I can’t believe this,” Gordon said. “I felt like I was in a bad dream and I was going to wake up any second. The longer the time went by, the more and more I realized this is reality. You have to face it, deal with it, put it behind you as fast as you can and move on.”
While Gordon was dealing with his problems in Texas, teammate Jimmie Johnson was able to drive away from the field, leading 255 laps on his way to victory. Many critics have stepped forward since Texas, questioning how Johnson can be so good.
“I think sometimes a lot of people don’t put enough credit into the overall team in our sport,” Gordon commented. “Jimmie is a great driver. Chad is a great crew chief. But they’re also surrounded by incredible people and resources at Hendrick Motorsports.
“Not that the rest of the Hendrick teams aren’t, but you have to understand, this is a group that’s been together a long time. They’ve won championships, they’ve lost championships, they’ve won and lost a lot of races. These guys know how to step up and win at the right time.”
Gordon added that Texas is also one of Johnson’s best tracks as he has a lot of confidence and during the test, was beating Gordon by a 10th to a 10th and a half throughout the whole test.
“I felt like we closed that gap slightly over the race weekend,” Gordon added. “But everybody was kind of playing catch-up. Especially you let those guys get out front, they had the track position. They had the one little issue on a green-flag pit stop that put them behind. But they had such better tires against everybody else they were up against, everybody was short-pitting. It made it that much easier for him to drive up through that.”
I think Matt was the one guy, one team that had something for him. I think that’s why they’re 1-2. He was the only one that could run lap times that Jimmie could. Once they got behind on the mistake they made on pit road, they never were in a position on those final caution restarts to battle it out and try to get in front of Jimmie.
So you have to give a lot of credit to the 48. Other than that one little issue, they were flawless all weekend.
With the disappointment of Texas behind him, Jeff Gordon is looking to Phoenix and Homestead to close out the season on a high note.
“We take that confidence in the cars that we’ve been bringing to the racetrack into Phoenix this weekend, on to Homestead,” he said. “Finish out the season the best we can and hopefully move up in points again.”
Many fans remember last year’s Phoenix race and the fight that Gordon had with Clint Bowyer. Though few remember that Gordon has won at Pheonix before and finished ninth there in the spring.
Beyond that, Gordon was able to cap off last season with a win at Homestead. He and his Hendrick Motorsports teammates were at Homestead last week and he said that they had a fantastic test.
If both races go well, Gordon is hoping that he could finish third or fourth in points. Considering he entered the Chase for the Championship as the “13th man”, that’s not too shabby.