November 2010 News

Finishing Touch
November 21 - - Jeff Gordon closed out his 2nd winless season in the last 3 years with a 37th place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway following a blown engine. In the championship battle, Jimmie Johnson finished 2nd and clinched his 5th consecutive title after Denny Hamlin struggled with handling issues following an early race spin.

Gordon started 11th and moved into the top-10 within 5 laps. He ran 7th when the caution waved on lap 16 for tire debris. Gordon lost two spots on pit road and restarted in 9th place. He lost two more spots on the lap 24 before Denny Hamlin spun on the backstretch after contact with Greg Biffle. Gordon fell back to 14th by lap 40 battling handling issues. He dropped two more spots over the next 20 laps and ran 16th on lap 60. On lap 90, he pulled to the inside of the track and lost positions after an engine issue surfaced.

Gordon lost two laps and ran 36th. He moved up to 34th with 100 laps to go but was distantly off the pace. With 67 laps to go, Gordon's engine blew on the frontstretch. He pulled into the garage area with his 4th DNF of the season -- and 2nd DNF in the last 3 races.

Leveling Off
November 15 - - Jeff Gordon finished 11th in the Kobalt Tools 500 on a day when he struggled with handling and traffic issues for the balance of the day. Gordon ran betwen 14th-16th for most of the day and salvaged 11th due to fuel mileage. Denny Hamlin dominated the race but needed a late race for fuel, thus handing the victory to Carl Edwards. Hamlin will take a 15 point lead over Jimmie Johnson to Homestead in the hopes of capturing his first NASCAR championship.

Gordon started 22nd and fell back on the outside line. He ran 26th when the first caution waved on lap 2 for Brendan Gaughan's contact with the wall. He entered the top-20 with a pass on Dale Earnhardt Jr on lap 30. His lap times improved later in the run as he moved to 18th by lap 45. A caution for Brad Keselowski's wall contact on lap 60 brought the field to pit road for the frist time. Gordon's "new" pit crew made their first stop ever for the driver after coming over from the 48 team earlier in the week. Gordon gained a spot on pit road and restarted 16th on lap 65. Gordon gained positions in the first 10 laps of the green flag and ran 12th on lap 75. He took 11th from Matt Kenseth on lap 95 before a debris caution caused by Jamie McMurray throwing a water bottle on the track on lap 101. Gordon lost 5 spots on pit road and restarted 16th.

He made his way to 13th before tight handling caused him to fall back. He dropped to 16th on lap 126 when Mark Martin passed. Gordon came to pit road for a green flag stop on lap 171. A slow stop was hindered by the right front, and Gordon ran 16th after stops cycled through the field. He moved up two spots to 14th by lap 200 as the handling seemed to improve on the longer run. Robby Gordon's spin with 90 laps to go brought out the caution and a round of pit stops. Gordon restarted in 14th place on lap 230, but lost two spots within a lap of the restart. Travis Kvapil's spin on lap 233 brought out the fifth caution of the race. Gordon came to pit road for tires and restarted in the 15th position. He fell to 17th after Kevin Harvick shoved him up the track in turn 4. He ran 15th for the balance of the last 60 laps before late race pit stops for fuel began. Gordon had enough fuel to make it to the end and posted an 11th place finish -- the high water mark of his day in the desert.

Fire And Flames
November 8 - - Jeff Gordon's frustration boiled over in the late afternoon sun at Texas Motor Speedway. After battling handling issues for the balance of the day, Gordon was wrecked during a caution period by Jeff Burton in turn two on lap 191. The drivers exited their cars and had a brief melee before being separated. Gordon sustained his 3rd DNF of the season and finished 37th.

Gordon started 15th and moved to 14th by lap 10. The field was slowed by a caution flag for Joe Nemechek's engine on lap 12. Pit stops followed with Gordon opting for two tires. He restarted 8th on lap 17 and immediately jumped to 6th. However, he dropped to 7th on lap 27 as his lap times began slowing. Jimmie Johnson passed Gordon to take a position on lap 35. He fell to 10th on lap 37 when Paul Menard and Kyle Busch went by. A debris caution on lap 43 slowed the field and allowed Gordon's crew to make chassis adjustments on pit road. Gordon changed four tires and gained two spots in the pits. He lost those spots immediately after the restart as his handling woes continued.

Gordon dropped to 12th on lap 50 unable to advance forward. A caution for Sam Hornish's wall contact on lap 59 slowed the field. Gordon changed tires and restarted 17th on lap 64. He moved up to 15th within three laps of the restart. Kevin Harvick sent him back to 16th on lap 71. He followed Harvick through traffic and ran 14th on lap 90. He moved back into the top-10 on lap 105 with a pass on Elliott Sadler. Gordon came to pit road for a green flag pit stop on lap 111. Following the stops, Gordon ran in 14th place. Martin Truex's spin on lap 132 brought the field to pit road. Gordon restarted in the top-10 but dropped back a few laps after the green flag. He faded to 15th by lap 150 when the caution waved for Truex's cut tire. Pit stops followed and Gordon restarted 18th on lap 156. Gordon masterfully held his line and avoided Kyle Busch's spinning car one lap after the restart. He spent the next 25 laps running in 20th place.

On lap 191, Jeff Burton drilled Gordon from behind sending him into the wall. Gordon exited the car and jogged across the track to the safety vehicle. He shoved Burton with both hands and unloaded with a right hand. Burton took the blame for the incident in a TV interview, which was little consolation to Gordon. "He went wide in turn three, I got to the inside and he drove into me," Gordon said. "Then the caution came out. We went into turn one and I guess he was frustrated and drove in my right rear and put me in the wall." Gordon slipped to 6th in points and will be mathematically eliminated from title contention next week at Phoenix. Although that's merely for posterity since his focus had shifted to 2011 a few weeks ago.

After the wreck, Gordon's pit crew was called over to Johnson's pit stall as crew chief Chad Knaus elected to replace his entire crew. Gordon's crew pitted Johnson's car for the remainder of the day -- turning stops a full second quicker than the 48 team had previously done earlier in the event.

JG post-wreck comments

"We went into turn 3 and he went up to the wall where he was running and I went down to about the second groove where I was running. By the time we got to the middle of the corner, he just turned left and got on my door and got me really loose. He said the sun got in his eyes. Then the caution came out. We got down into (turn) 1 and I just drove up next to him and show him my displeasure with what went on and he just wrecked us. Flat-out wrecked us. Turned us right into the wall and collected himself. It was pretty stupid and he admitted it later. I certainly wanted to show him how upset I was and I'm not ashsamed of anything I did."

"He deserved a lot more than that, I can tell you that. That kind of stuff is ridiculous and uncalled for. Jeff and I, I just like the guy too much and we'll be able to go on and race one another and stuff like that, I just couldn't believe how much respect I lost for a guy like Jeff to do something like that, I thought was really stupid. Sometimes I can't hold my emotions back and believe it or not I was holding them back right there."

"He was trying to talk to me and explain to me what happened. He felt that I came up on him and that he didn't mean to wreck me. I'm sorry, I will never believe that. I've been driving a race car long enough to know what your intentions are and I know what they were there."

"Maybe if the guy wrecks you prior to that, but I didn't do anything to him. I was just showing him that I wasn't happy. I didn't touch him. He just flat out wrecked me. I don't know. The last few weeks have not exactly gone our way and I feel like what happened in Martinsville, I deserved a little bit of that, not all of it. Maybe I did through the past. I can't think of anything me and Jeff Burton have had disagreement that should have led to that."

"We talked on the whole ambulance ride. When you're too upset like that, you don't care to hear about any explanation as to what went on. I know he's sorry, but he's sorry because he got caught up in it himself. I didn't want to ride in the (ambulance) with him, I can tell you that. I wanted to go confront him, that's for sure. It wasn't fun. He talked a lot, but I didn't say a whole lot. If somebody does something stupid, I'm going to be mad about it. I'm going to show them my frustration. If I could have gotten to Kurt Busch after Martinsville, it would have been the same thing. I didn't see him. I had time to calm down. I walked down there hoping I would see Jeff and I did. Lucky I had a long enough walk to think about what I wanted to say or do. If I hadn't had that long of walk, I would have done something that I would have regretted."

"No more penalty that what he deserves for what he did."

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