2005: Rough Harvest

Season Recap

The 2005 season could be broken easily into three parts, each with its own separate storyline. In the first 10 races, Jeff Gordon established himself as a championship contender. He started the season with a dramatic victory in the Daytona 500 by passing Dale Earnhardt Jr with two laps remaining. After posting just one top-10 finish in the next four races, Gordon dropped to 12th in the series standings. However, he rebounded with a victory at Martinsville by making up 3 laps due to a mid-race tire problem. Contact with Kurt Busch sent the defending series champion into the wall as Gordon took second place. He then passed Sterling Marlin to capture the win. Three races later, Gordon flexed his restrictor plate muscle with a dominating performance in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. The following week he posted a runner-up finish at Darlington Raceway and moved to second in the points standings. Gordon didn't know it at the time, but that would be the high-water mark of his season.
The second act of Gordon's 2005 season was nothing short of an odyssey. Wrecks at Richmond, Charlotte, and Dover (with a little help from Tony Stewart) dropped Gordon to 11th in the series standings. A missed setup at Michigan was followed by a broken transmission on the road course in Sonoma. A wreck at Chicago in mid-July after running toward the rear of the field for the bulk of the day saw Gordon drop to 15th in the series standings. With his chances of qualifying for the 'chase for the championship' dwindling, Gordon posted five straight top-15 finishes from late July thru late August. However, a 21st place finish at California and contact with the wall at Richmond sealed his fate. After failing to qualify for the 'chase,' crew chief Robbie Loomis stepped down and was replaced by car chief Steve Letarte. The combination struggled at the outset as Gordon posted three finishes of 30th or worse in his first four races with Letarte.
Gordon's final act of the season consisted of the last five races. A victory at Martinsville was followed by a runner-up finish at Atlanta-- a 1.5-mile track where Gordon had struggled on a weekly basis in 2005. He closed the year with a third-place finish at Phoenix and a 9th place effort at Homestead, where his finish did not match the overall effort. Gordon said the last 10 races of 2005 were in essence the first 10 races of his 2006 season. He closed the season with a number of solid efforts, giving his team hope that 2006 won't be the rebuilding year many seem to expect.

RaceStartFinishPts Position
Daytona 5001511
Auto Club 500283010
UAW 4001244
Golden Corral 500253912
Food City 50041512
Advance Auto Parts 5001616
Radio Shack 5007155
Subway 5001124
Aaron's 499213
Dodge 5001422
Chevrolet 40020393
Coca-Cola 6002305
MBNA 40053911
Pocono 5003199
Batman 40093212
Save Mart 35013314
Pepsi 40015713
USG 400143315
New England 300212515
Pennsylvania 500211315
Brickyard 4007814
Sirius at the Glen141413
GFS 40021512
Sharpie 5002610
Sony 50062112
Chevy 40063012
Sylvania 30021412
MBNA 400253714
UAW-Ford 500133716
Banquet 40031014
UAW-GM 500103817
Subway 50015115
Bass Pro/MBNA 50024212
Dickies 50021412
Checker 50010311
Miami 40012911

4 wins. 11th in points
Daytona 500
Advance Auto Parts 500
Aaron's 499
Subway 500

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