Jeff Gordon started the 2014 season with a dose of bad luck in the Sprint Unlimited. A grinding crash destroyed the #24 car after 35 laps.
Gordon started 13th after the lineup was determined by final practice speeds. He fell to 16th at the outset, but moved up to 11th by lap 10. However, he lost spots in the draft and ran 14th on lap 20. Gordon moved to the inside line and moved up to 7th on lap 26. He slipped out of line on lap 29 and concluded the first 30-lap segment in 10th place.
Crew chief Alan Gustafson called for gas only during the pit stop and Gordon restarted the second 25-lap segment with the lead. However, he was hindered by the inside line and dropped to 10th within five laps. On lap 35, Gordon was a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time when Joey Logano turned Matt Kenseth. Gordon made contact with Tony Stewart’s car and hit the wall just before getting hit from behind by Kurt Busch. All drivers exited their cars under their own power. Gordon went to check on Stewart, who was returning after breaking his leg seven months ago.
Matt Kenseth misjudged Joey Logano’s closing rate.
“The race started off really calm, I was quite surprised. Then all of a sudden business started picking up. I couldn’t see anything. I was behind Tony. I knew they just started stacking up. The closing rate with the extra added spoiler is pretty severe, so maybe Matt just misjudged how quick Logano was coming up on him. He just kind of changed lanes too quick there. Glad everybody’s alright.”
Source: Jeff Gordon Online
Race Results [PDF]