Jeff Gordon’s arduous season took another downward turn with an early crash at Michigan International Speedway. Gordon was collected when Bobby Labonte spun in the early going. He fell to 16th in the series points standings.
Gordon started 29th and moved to 23rd by lap 5. However, he had nowhere to go when Labonte spun in turn 1 on lap 6. Gordon hit Labonte’s car and then bounced off the retaining wall. The #24 Chevrolet was too damaged to continue and garage repairs were needed. Gordon spent nearly 2 hours in the garage and returned after the halfway point to try and gain a few spots. He pulled behind the wall after moving up to 39th place. On the day, Gordon ran 52 laps — the fewest laps he’s run in a NASCAR race since Dover in June 2005.
Friday. Poor qualifying effort put him deep in the field at the start of the race.
“Bobby Labonte just lost it over there in Turn 2. He just did one of those slow spins where I couldn’t tell which direction he was going to go, so I had to guess and I guessed the wrong way. I didn’t really have anywhere to go. But I just can’t believe the way this season is going for us. It seems like we can run all day long when we can’t get the car right but when we finally get the car right, something like this happens. At Charlotte, I thought our car was awesome and I was really pleased with the way the car took off right there. We were really going to march up through the field. It’s unfortunate. This team just continues to have to face adversity and I appreciate how strong they are during it, but I just wish we didn’t all have to be tested quite this much.”
WOULD YOU SAY THE TRACK IS SURPRISINGLY SLICK?
“It’s not surprising because I expected it. When you have these fast practices in the mornings and then it loses a little grip in the next practice, you know when the sun comes out on race days it’s going to be pretty slick. So, I just wasn’t surprised.”
TELL US WHAT HAPPENED: “Bobby Labonte lost it off of turn two in front of me. It was just such a slow spin that I didn’t know which way he was going to go, so I had to guess. I tried to go around him on the outside and that was not the right way. I don’t know if I would have missed him even if I went to the inside. It’s unfortunate this season we are having is just unbelievable to me. We are at times struggling to get the speed then when we get the speed we struggle to finish because of stuff like this. I thought we were being tested last year, boy we are really being tested this year. Nobody has more fight in them than this team.”
HOW DO YOU HANDLE THE FRUSTRATION OF BEING INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT THIS EARLY IN A RACE?
“It’s not like we have any choice. You have to just deal with it and move on. You feel for the guys that are working so hard. There are some guys that are doing their job perfectly and things are out of their control and they don’t deserve this. There are other guys that, like myself, we contribute to being back there starting 29th. That is something we have to do better. I was really happy with the way the car was running. I’m happy with the way this team is sticking together, but boy I tell you these moments when they add up they really can be frustrating. That is the thing we have to work through the most. We are a great organization, a great team and we can rebound, it’s just we have to get the finishes.”
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LUCK?
“For years I’ve always said I don’t believe in good luck or bad luck that you make it. Just in that instance right there I call that being at the wrong place at the wrong time, but I also know that we contribute to where we started. We started back there and we were moving forward which I’m proud of, but the fact that we are back there. I put as much blame on myself. I really struggled this weekend when we went into qualifying trim. I’ve struggled all year. Shoot, the last two years with qualifying and I don’t know what it is, but we have to get it better. Starting back there you are only putting yourself into those positions to have those kinds of things happen.”
HOW MUCH IS THIS TESTING YOUR PATIENCE?
“I’m a pretty patient person, but it’s testing my frustration level and my confidence that is the biggest thing. We all know how big confidence is in this sport, any sport really. I don’t want to see the team get down and I don’t want to see myself get down. I have a lot of fight in me and so does this team. I’m looking forward to going to Sonoma.”
source: Jeff Gordon Online
MP3 Download – without spotter chatter
Run Time: 14:16
File Size: 1.6mb
MP3 Download – with spotter chatter
Run Time: 20:51
File Size: 2.4mb