2008: Fall To Pieces

Season Recap

If you told Jeff Gordon at the start of the 2008 season that he wouldn't score a victory, he probably would not have believed it. After all, he scored the most total points in 2007. He won 6 races and his chemistry with crew chief Steve Letarte was being compared to the Ray Evernham years in the 90's. Gordon was picked as the championship favorite in pre-season media polls. When the green flag waved at Daytona to start the season, it looked as if Gordon's elusive "drive for five" would finally be completed. And then the racing began.

Gordon finished 39th in the Daytona 500 after breaking a suspension piece. He rebounded with a strong 3rd place effort at California Speedway. At Las Vegas, Gordon's car came to life late in the race. On a late race restart, he pulled to the inside of Matt Kenseth trying to move into second place. Gordon lost control and tapped Kenseth's car. He then overcorrected and wound up sliding toward the inside wall on the backstretch. He slammed into the wall with the nose of the car -- one of the hardest hits of his racing career. Battling lingering pain from the crash, Gordon won the pole and finished 5th at Atlanta. Two weeks later, a runner-up effort at Martinsville moved him into the top-10 in the points standings. Things seemed to be kicking into high gear. Or was that merely the calm before the summer storm?

The first sign of trouble came at Texas where Gordon struggled with handling all weekend. He fell to the rear of the field driving an extremely loose car. Yet no amount of adjustments could make it better. Gordon eventually hit the wall and finished in last place. Hendrick Motorsports as an organization got off to a slow start in 2008. The Phoenix race would turn out to be a microcosm of Gordon's season. He battled handling issues all night and finished 13th, while Jimmie Johnson scored a breakthrough victory. Four straight top-10 finishes at Richmond, Darlington, Charlotte, and Dover moved Gordon up to 6th in points-- even though he hadn't scored a victory.

The summer stretch of races would show how far off the DuPont team really was. Pedestrian 14th and 18th place finishes at Pocono and Michigan were offset by a 3rd place finish on the road course in Sonoma. However, in the next seven race, Gordon scored just two top-10 finishes. He qualified for the 'chase for the championship' by sitting 10th in the points standings. The season had been dominated by Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, and Jimmie Johnson, yet Gordon held out hope that his team could catch lightning in a bottle and contend.

An 14th place finish at Loudon brought more handling woes to the forefront. Nevetheless, a 4th place fuel mileage effort at Kansas Speedway put Gordon within striking distance of the title leaders. His hopes would suffer a fatal blow at Talladega when he swerved to avoid a melee in front of him and went head-on into the backstretch wall. A 38th place finish dropped him to 8th in points and put the focus on scoring a victory before the season ended. Gordon scored six top-10 finishes in the final seven races, but didn't come close to a victory. He tied his season-best with a 2nd place finish at Texas when he gambled on fuel mileage to make it to the end of a race where he ran 20th for the balance. A blown engine at Phoenix and a distant 4th place finish in Miami concluded the season. The 2008 season started with high hopes for Gordon and his race team. By season's end, those hopes had fallen to pieces.

RaceStartFinishPts Position
Daytona 50083939
Auto Club 5002314
UAW 40043522
Kobalt Tools 5001515
Food City 50021114
Goody's 500129
Samsung 500184314
Subway 500111313
Aaron's 499201914
Crown Royal 40028913
Dodge 5008310
Coca-Cola 60018410
Best Buy 400756
Pocono 50038148
LifeLock 4008189
Save Mart 350536
Lenox Tools 30119116
Coke Zero 40026306 4006116
Brickyard 400556
Pennsylvania 5004106
Centurion at the Glen6296
3M Performance 4005429
Sharpie 500359
Pepsi 50031510
Chevy 40010810
Sylvania 300101411
Camping World 400178
Camping World RV 4001346
Amp 50026388
Bank of America 500888
Tums 500847
Pep Boys 500796
Dickies 500125
Checker 500k7417
Miami 4003747

0 wins. 7th in points

Return to the statistics page

Copyright 2008 Jeff Gordon Online
All rights reserved.