July 2008 Random News

Racing In Name Only
SPEEDWAY, IN. (July 28) - - The record books will show Jimmie Johnson scored the victory in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Decades from now it will be viewed as an impressive accomplishment that Johnson led the most laps, beat the field off pit road with 9 laps to go, and won at the famed track for the second time in the last three years. But for those who watched the debacle known as the Brickyard 400, it was anything but a "race." The tires wore extensively on the racing surface due to the heavier "Car of Tomorrow" race car. To combat blown tires, NASCAR waved the caution flag every 10-12 laps to allow the teams to change tires. In fact, the longest green flag run of the race was a mere 12 laps. The event became a pit road race as the teams came to the pit lane 11 times in front of perhaps the smallest Brickyard 400 crowd of NASCAR's 15-year history at the track. On the final restart, Johnson pulled ahead of Carl Edwards and easily claimed the victory.
Jeff Gordon had a survivable 5th place finish-- exactly where he started. In between caution flags, Gordon was able to move through traffic with relative ease. He took the lead on lap 25 before relinquishing the top spot on pit road. Gordon re-assumed the lead on lap 36 before eventual winner Johnson passed one lap later. Crew chief Steve Letarte opted to change four tires every time Gordon came to pit road. The decision often cost him spots on the racetrack to drivers who opted for only right side tires. He made several charges through traffic, but invariably lost spots during cautions due to the tire strategy. With 30 laps to go, Gordon came onto pit road in 4th place. A four-tire change pushed him back to 14th on the restart, thus ending his slim hopes of a victory. He did manage to work his way up to 8th at the final competition caution with 10 laps to go. Letarte then followed the pack by changing two tires. Gordon restarted 6th and passed Jamie McMurray on the final lap to score his first top-5 on an oval track since Dover in early-June.

Charity Bowl
INDIANAPOLIS, IN. (July 25) - - The Jeff Gordon Foundation held its 7th annual bowling tournament on July 24 in Indianapolis to benefit Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana's only comprehensive children's hospital with pediatric specialists in every field of medicine and surgery. The tournament featured professional bowlers such as Danny Wiseman, as well as Gordon's NASCAR peers such as Richard Petty, Juan Pablo Montoya, Reed Sorensen, and Ray Evernham, among others.

Records In Peril
JOLIET, IL. (July 13) - - Ten years ago, Jeff Gordon tied a modern-era NASCAR record with 13 victories. No driver has won more than 10 races in a season since then. However, Kyle Busch scored his 7th victory as the series passed the halfway point. Gordon knows what it's like to pull into victory lane nearly every week -- even when he doesn't have the best car. "It's crazy," he said. "You're going along there and you've got a strong car and a strong team and you're feeling like you’re doing a good job. You're winning races that you feel like you as a team really worked hard for and earned. But then you start winning races that you felt like you shouldn't have won and it just kind of boggles your mind. That's kind of the way I've seen those guys. They're strong, they're very good, they've done a great job, and they've put themselves in position to win races. Some people have just given the races away. But for the most part, they've earned everyone of them; and they're tough. It's everybody’s goal out there to try to break that momentum that they have. Nobody's been able to do it yet."

Still So Much To Be Done
JOLIET, IL. (July 13) - - Another week and Kyle Busch has found another way to get to victory lane. For the second week in a row, Busch took advantage of a miscalculation by a Hendrick Motorsports driver to claim a victory. Last week at Daytona, Jeff Gordon gift-wrapped a victory for Busch by moving to the high line and allowing Busch to take the lead late in the race. At Chicago, Jimmie Johnson got a poor restart with two laps to go and allowed Busch to pull to the outside and make the winning pass for his 7th victory of the season. As for Gordon, an 11th place finish showed there's still more work that needs to be done on the downforce tracks. He started 6th and ran in the lower half of the top-10 for the first 50 laps. He elected to stay on the track during a caution period and inherited the lead. His lead lasted less than 5 laps as Greg Biffle took the top spot. After getting back on the same pit stop sequence as the leaders, Gordon once again ran in the lower half of the top-10. He fell from 7th to 9th after a pit stop with 41 laps to go. He dropped another two spots working in race traffic on several late race restarts. He came across the finish line in 11th place and remains 6th in the points standings. "It's disappointing where we finished," said crew chief Steve Letarte. "I think we had a better car than that. We lost our track position there at the end. But the guys fought hard. It was a better car than we've had at a 1.5-mile track. We had one bad pit stop and went to the back. And in the last few races, that would have been it. But we recovered and passed those guys back and got back in the top-ten and just got too tight there at the end. We need to make sure we are free enough with these cars and when the speeds pick up at the end of the race we just get real, real tight. We need to do a better job of adjusting."

Fumbling Down The Stretch
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (July 6) - - Jeff Gordon was in the preferred position with 5 laps remaining in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. However, two errors in judgment wound up costing him a shot at his first victory of the season. While leading Kyle Busch, Gordon jumped to the high line believing that Matt Kenseth had a strong enough run to take the lead. Busch assumed the top spot for the final green/white/checkered restart. When the green flag waved, Carl Edwards dove low to pass Gordon. Glancing in his mirror, Gordon moved down the track and misjudged the block. The front of Edwards' car made contact with Gordon's left rear sending the DuPont Chevrolet into a spin, which was eerily similar to Gordon cutting off Sterling Marlin on a restart at the end of the 2002 Daytona 500. Gordon was unofficially credited with a 30th place finish on a night when his finishing position didn't equate to the effort. Gordon started 26th and moved up to 11th when the first caution waved on lap 17. He lost 8 spots on pit road due to a lug nut problem, but rebounded to gain entry into the top-10 on lap 32. Ten laps later he was in the top-5. He remained locked in the lead draft and eventually took the lead with a drafting push from Dale Earnhardt Jr. on lap 79. Gordon remained in front of the field until lap 103. After losing the lead, he stayed in the top-5 draft and re-assumed the lead with 27 laps to go when Busch gave him a drafting push around Earnhardt Jr. Gordon led Busch through a series of restarts until he made the ill-fated move to the high line on lap 155. "I should have stayed on the bottom," Gordon said. "My car was so good on the bottom. I'm probably more mad at myself than anything else." As for the last restart, that was simply late race chaos in session. "Everybody was laying back and trying to get a run on the last restart," Gordon said. "They got the jump on me. I tried to block him. Maybe I came across (Edwards') nose."

News Archives

Jeff Gordon Online

Copyright ©2008 Jeff Gordon Online.
All rights reserved.