Livin In The Future
WILMINGTON, DE. (May 30) - - Jeff Gordon tested at Pocono Raceway on May 27-28. The two-day test was a scheduled NASCAR session where all teams tested at the 2.5-mile track in northeastern Pennsylvania. Gordon then headed to Delaware for NASCAR Day at the headquarters of his primary sponsor in Wilmington on Thursday. DuPont is signed as Gordon's primary sponsor through the 2010 racing season. However, next season is when decisions will have to be made about whether Gordon wants to continue a full-time schedule beyond 2010. "All I can tell you is that 2010 is when our contracts are ending and probably 2009 is a year that's going to have a lot of decision-making for me," Gordon said last year. "Those contracts might be up in 2010 but they all want to talk about them in 2009. So to me that's going to be a big year. We'll just see where I'm at and how things are going."
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 26) - - After finishing fourth in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Jeff Gordon had an unexpected visitor when he exited his car on pit road. Third-place finisher Kyle Busch came over to chat-- though the visit was hardly amicable. Busch felt that Gordon was pushing him too hard for position late in the event and taking away the preferred line in the corners. In essence, Busch was upset that Gordon was racing against him. "I guess he doesn't like people to race him," Gordon said. "You know, Kyle and I never had any issues. But I raced him hard tonight just like I did everybody. And when track position is as important as it is here, you've got to race every single car for every single position. And I wasn't going to give anybody an inch and I was racing for position. He's got an issue because he gave me the finger. You know what, thatís not necessary for a guy he just didn't like racing him the way I did.Ē
Hypermiling Pays Off
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 26) - - With gas prices soaring to record highs, drivers have taken measures to improve their mileage on the road. During the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Jeff Gordon found himself in the same situation as most interstate drivers these days. He slowed down his race pace in the closing stages, let off the gas and coasted into corners, and managed to nurse his car to a 4th place finish. Gordon was far from a 4th place car during the race -- he wasn't even a top-15 car. But pit strategy worked in his favor on the final stop, thus giving him a third straight top-10 finish. Gordon started 18th and made little headway toward the front of the field for the balance of the race. He went a lap down on lap 125 as he struggled with a loose handling car. He fell as low as 29th before a series of caution flags near the halfway point allowed him to get back on the lead lap on lap 224. He ran in 20th for most of the second half of the race before coming onto pit road to top off with fuel under the final caution flag. His strategy worked out as all of the drivers ahead of him needed to pit for fuel. Gordon's lap times were slow enough that some drivers were able to pit and still pass him for position. Nevertheless, a 4th place finish allows him to hold onto 10th in the series standings. "We freed it up too much and got way behind," Gordon said. "We fought hard to get it back, and we got it back. If we had track position, we could have done better."
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 18) - - In perhaps the most boring edition of the All-Star Challenge race, Kasey Kahne took the lead early in the final segment and was never challenged en route to the victory. Kahne qualified for the main event due to fan voting. The dominant car during the event seemed to be Kyle Busch, who easily won the first 25-lap segment. Busch then jumped out to a large lead in segment two before an engine problem sidelined him for the night. Jeff Gordon had a rather forgettable night at Lowes Motor Speedway as he finished 15th battling handling problems from the outset. After starting on the outside of the front row, Gordon dropped to 7th in segment one. The second segment was a disaster as handling changes went the wrong way and Gordon finished 15th. The team made changes during the 10-minute halftime break, but could only muster a 15th place finish in segment three. He started the final segment in 11th due to a two-tire pit stop before falling as low as 17th. He made some headway in the closing stages to finish 15th. Despite hyping the event as a show for the fans, perhaps track president Humpy Wheeler will offer a refund program for next year since the 24th edition failed to live up to any kind of 'racing' expectations.
Separating Business From Pleasure
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 17) - - Jeff Gordon has won four NASCAR championships and collected 81 race wins along the way. That doesn't include trophies for pole awards, Race of Champions events, Nationwide series wins, and exhibition races such as the All-Star Challenge. Suffice to say, Gordon has accumulated a warehouse full of hardware from his racing success. However, there is one place where you won't find any of Gordon's keepsakes. "There aren't any (trophies) to be found at his home," stepfather John Bickford told Espn.com. "There, it is all about family, not racing."
Dedicating The Monster
DOVER, DE. (May 15) - - Jeff Gordon was on hand for the dedication of the new 46-foot high Monster monument at Dover Speedway on May 14. Gordon addressed the crowd of approximately 300 in front of the monument. "It's an amazing monument and it really symbolizes what this track is all about to the drivers and the fans," Gordon said. "The Monster Mile brings out the monster in all of us. It's also a pleasure to have my name etched on this monument four times. I'm hoping to add a fifth and sixth this year."
DARLINGTON, S.C. (May 11) - - It's often said that you must walk confidently before you begin to run. After struggling on the downforce tracks from the outset of the 2008 season, Jeff Gordon took a necessary step forward with a 3rd place effort in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. While Gordon was a distant 3rd behind Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards -- the two drivers who have dominated downforce tracks this season-- he put together an effort that bolstered his standing in the series as he moved up to 10th with 15 races remaining before the chase for the championship. Gordon started eighth and moved to sixth on lap 2 when Elliot Sadler's driving error ruined Tony Stewart's night. He remained in sixth for most of the first half of the race as passing was virtually non-existent on the newly paved surface. On lap 140, he moved to fourth after gaining two spots on pit road. He passed Dale Earnhardt Jr. to take third on lap 172. He briefly took the lead of the event during a pit stop sequence when he stayed on the track. However, Busch and Edwards pulled away from him and left him a distant third at the finish. "I knew it was going to be very tough to pass," Gordon said. "But guys who had their cars working real good would be able to come up through there, like Carl, and like Kyle when he went to the back. All we did was we started eighth. Two cars wrecked in front of us. We got to sixth. Somehow some track position worked out. We got in the top five. We just had awesome pit stops all night long because we did not have a car that could have driven from the back to the front. I'm happy that we have a top-five and we are third, but also how frustrated I am because of how far off we are from winning races right now. We did the tire test here at Darlington and Kyle just kicked everybody's tails tonight. So, we have some work to do. We have been working hard, hopefully we can get a little bit closer to them at Charlotte."
Learn As You Go
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 6) - - Jeff Gordon and the rest of the Sprint Cup drivers tested at Lowe's Motor Speedway on May 5-6. "We're learning about the grip of the tires, the grip with this car on this track," Gordon said. "Obviously this was not a scheduled test and so I think itís just great for us to get extra information. We're just gathering all kinds of data with the car and looking for speed and sometimes that just takes more time. When you only have a couple of hours of practice when you get to the race track, sometimes it's tough to find that. You can take your time a little bit more and try things."
Monday Night At The Met
NEW YORK, N.Y. (May 6) - - Jeff Gordon skipped the afternoon and night test sessions at Lowe's Motor Speedway on May 5 to attend the Metropolitan Museum of Art's annual Costume Institute gala hosted by Vogue editor Anna Wintour.
RICHMOND, VA. (May 4) - - It was an uphill climb for Jeff Gordon during the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway. He started dead last after the team needed to change the engine starter before the race. With traffic at the outset, he fell a lap down by lap 45. But he rallied back in fine fashion and posted a 9th place finish. While Gordon was not a factor for the lead during the night, he passed more cars than any other driver on the track. What looked like a runaway victory for Denny Hamlin turned late in the event when a flat tire sent Hamlin to pit road. He had led 381 of the 382 laps up to that point. Dale Earnhardt Jr inherited the top spot but was wrecked by Kyle Busch just 10 laps from the finish. Clint Bowyer scooted past Busch when he checked up for Earnhardt Jr's spin. Bowyer held off Busch in a final two-lap sprint to win his second career race. Gordon's 9th place effort was his first top-10 finish since Martinsville. He moved up to 13th in the points standings, just 6 points out of the final qualifying spot for the chase for the championship. "I thought we were about an 8th or 9th place car," Gordon said. "There were a couple cars that had problems there at the end so maybe a 7th place car. We came in and got tires there and it was the right move, but some other guys took two tires and got ahead of us. To start 43rd, go a lap down, and then have to get our lap back, I'm really proud of this team."
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