Slap On The Wrist
NEW YORK, N.Y. (March 28)- - On Tuesday, Jeff Gordon learned his fate regarding his post-race shove to Matt Kenseth at Bristol Motor Speedway after Sunday's race. NASCAR fined Gordon $10,000 and placed him on probation until August 30. However, Gordon avoided any points penalty for his infraction. Gordon said aggression carries over off the track like it did at Bristol. "I guess that's maybe the Jeff Gordon that has evolved over the years," Gordon said. "In the past I've reserved a lot of my emotions. I'm not afraid to show them these days. I'm just being me."
Good 'Til The Last Lap
BRISTOL, TN. (March 27)- - Contact from Matt Kenseth on the final lap of the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway sent Jeff Gordon from a near-certain 3rd place finish to 21st in the running order. Gordon's post-race shove to Kenseth on pit road accentuated his feelings. "Kenseth got shuffled out and he was holding guys up," Gordon said. "I got to him a couple a times and he shut the door on me. The next time I got an opportunity, I definitely moved him but I didn't wreck him. We went down into turn 1, and he just wrecked me. I'm sure he didn't mean to do it, but I wasn't happy about it and I showed him after the race. I like racing with Matt-- Matt's a great racer-- and that stuff rarely ever happens with him but I'm going to give back to him what he gives to me. It's unfortunate because we got a great finish taken away from us."
The Upside Of Anger
BRISTOL, TN. (March 27)- - Anger can stop you in your tracks. It needs nothing to burn but the air and the life that it swallows and smothers. It's real, though - the fury, even when it isn't. It can change you... turn you... mold you and shape you into something you're not. Racing at Bristol Motor Speedway produces a layer of anger beneath the normally placid surface of most NASCAR drivers. As Jeff Gordon appeared on his way to a 3rd place effort, a bump on the final lap ruined his day resulting in a 21st place finish and a shove to Matt Kenseth on pit road following the race. Gordon started 11th and made his prescence known in the early stages when he moved into the top-5 on lap 55. He ran in the top-5 and avoided several wrecks before taking the lead from Tony Stewart on lap 158. However, he lost the top spot during pit stops just three laps later. Gordon battled a tight handling condition in the mid-stages of the race, and fell to 5th on lap 281. He exited pit road in 4th after the final round on stops on lap 405. Five laps later he spun the lapped car of Martin Truex in turn four. Truex came back on the track and rubbed Gordon while holding him up. Stewart, running behind Gordon, solved the problem by sending Truex into the inside wall on the backstretch. As the laps wound down, Kurt Busch caught Kenseth for the lead. He used a bump pass to take the lead with 5 laps to go. Gordon got around Kenseth for 3rd with 2 laps to go, but Kenseth drove hard into turn 1 and spun Gordon out on the final lap. The post-race shove on pit road earned Gordon a trip to the Nascar hauler for a chat. He was credited with a 21st place finish and dropped to 7th in the series standings.
Effort And Luck Brings Fourth
HAMPTON, GA. (March 20)- - Jeff Gordon entered the 2006 season hoping to improve his performance on 1.5-mile tracks. After scoring consecutive top-five finishes at Las Vegas and Atlanta, signs of progress have been made. However, there is still some work to do as Gordon was not a factor for the lead at either track. Nevertheless, after failing to qualify for last season's chase for the championship, Gordon is entrenched in the top-10 of the series standings. Gordon started 12th and battled a loose handling condition in the early stages of the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He moved to 7th following pit stops on lap 42 but began battling a tight condition. On the next pit stop on lap 66, the track bar was lowered to improve the handling. Gordon dropped as low as 16th on lap 100 before the team had another chance to adjust the handling on lap 120. From there, the handling improved and Gordon was on his way. He entered the top-10 on lap 135 and would remain there for the rest of the day. Gordon moved up to 6th before a debris caution on lap 153. Gordon jumped to 4th following the restart, but eventually slipped to 6th. He remained in the top-five until the final restart on lap 268. The car started out loose and Gordon dropped to 10th. But the handling improved as the the run continued. By lap 305 he made his way to 6th. With 20 laps to go, he passed Tony Stewart to re-enter the top-five. On the final lap, Gordon felt a tire problem but easily finished in the 4th position-- his best finish of the season. The checkered flag was a welcome site as an overtime green/white/checkers finish might have been problematic for Gordon's top-five chances.
Las Vegas Glitter
LAS VEGAS, NV. (March 13)- - Jeff Gordon was looking for continuous improvement at the start of the 2006 season. After three races, Gordon has improved on his finishes each week. More importantly, he posted a solid top-5 finish on a 1.5-mile track, which often confounded the DuPont team a year ago. Gordon started strong in the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway by moving up to 6th from his 13th starting position in the first 30 laps. He battled a tight handling condition and slipped to 9th on lap 86. A pit sequence dropped him to 15th on lap 105, and handling issues in traffic limited his march forward. He gained four spots on pit road on lap 186 to move from 12th to 8th. With 69 laps to go, Gordon sustained minor damage on the left side of the car during a door-to-door battle to hold off Greg Biffle for position. In the closing stages, Gordon passed Kevin Harvick for 7th with 27 laps go, and took 6th from Jeff Burton the following lap. He got around Tony Stewart with 10 to go, while Stewart battled a tire issue. On the final restart, he made a move to try and pass Kasey Kahne for fourth, but was unable to complete the pass. At the front of the field, Gordon's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson passed Matt Kenseth on the final lap to win his second race of the season and 20th of his career. With a 5th place finish, Gordon moved up to 9th in the series standings. "We needed track position and we tuned on the car all day long," Gordon said. "There at the end was the best the car had been over the whole run. Luckily we had a great pit stop and were able to get some good track position. To be in the top-5 feels great. I feel like we had a run going like this at California before the battery issue."
Full House In Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS, NV. (March 11)- - Following an off-weekend where most of the Nextel Cup drivers escaped to lower latitudes to decompress for a few days, the series kicked back into high gear in Las Vegas. Jeff Gordon's weekend started a little earlier with a poker tournament in the Caesars Palace poker room to benefit his charitable foundation on Wednesday. Joining Gordon were drivers Tony Stewart and Robby Gordon. After the tournament ended, an online charity auction began at www.GoMotorBids.com. The centerpiece of the auction will be an actual full-size poker table from the tournament. The table, custom made for the event, will be signed by Gordon. Also on the virtual auction block is a full-size hood from the promotional race car built for the movie Racing Stripes, which is signed by Gordon, Dustin Hoffman, and other stars in the animated film. Gordon has donated a racing tire to the auction from the 2005 Daytona 500.
Hot Hues Returns
SOUTH FLORIDA. (March 6)- - While Jeff Gordon's 13th place finish at California Speedway could be viewed as somewhat of a disappointment, the Chip Foose designed #24 Hot Hues Chevrolet stood out for its unique paint scheme. The paint scheme will race again at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August. Gordon announced the news prior to the inaugural running of the design at California. The repeat appearance was scheduled in response to the overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers, custom car enthusiasts and race fans. The car was unveiled in the Hot Hues booth at the Specialty Equipment Market Association show in November 2005. The first public appearance was at the San Francisco Rod, Custom & Motorcycle show in January 2006, followed by Gordon's debut in the car in February.
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