Rewind: Jeff Gordon started 2nd but dropped back on the start after failing to find a drafting partner. Help from Kasey Kahne kept Gordon in the top-10 until the first caution flag. On lap 10, Gordon was pushed into the top-5 by Kahne in a two-car draft before the second caution. Gordon restarted 24th and hooked up with Trevor Bayne in a draft. Gordon sustained minor damage to the front of the car after hitting the rear of Robby Gordon’s car when the field slowed for a caution flag on lap 23. A chain reaction wreck on lap 29 collected Gordon in the mess. Heavy damage to the rear of the car resulted in an extended trip to the garage area for repairs. Gordon returned and finished in 28th place — earning 17 NASCAR points. Trevor Bayne became the youngest ever (20) to win the Daytona 500.
Road ahead: Throw out the “restrictor plate” madness of Daytona when the series heads to Phoenix. The #24 team tested at Pikes Peak Raceway in early February (1 mile track w/ similar banking) to prepare for the event. Gordon has struggled at Phoenix in recent years. A strong effort in the desert will go a long way toward moving him back into points contention.
“The Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet was really fast. I had just got with Trevor Bayne again, I had some help from Kasey Kahne in the beginning. We were having a lot of fun. You know, I totally get the two-car drafting and I think we are going to see a lot more of it. What I don’t understand is why guys are doing it three-wide, three-deep running for 28th. We need to let it thin out a little. As soon as it thins out, then go to it and they can do it pretty safe and pretty harm free. Like right there, I was sitting there just kind of riding along just waiting for it to thin out. I probably should have waited even farther in the back, but you see them and they are pushing and shoving up the middle down the back straightaway. I’m like ‘what are they doing’, you know. You can understand those guys in the front two or three rows, go ahead… they are going to go out there and do it. But, anyway, it is disappointing.
WHAT HAPPENED? “We got into the NO. 7 (Robby Gordon) when the No. 29 (Kevin Harvick) blew up. He got down in front of me, I just couldn’t get slowed down enough and got in the back of him and tore his car up. We had a little damage to the grill opening so we came in and patched that up. That got us in the back and we lost our drafting partner Trevor Bayne and Kasey Kahne. Back there you could actually just use the draft, you didn’t need a partner. I was watching these guys in front of me like bumper cars. Bumping off of one another, three deep, four deep and three and four wide. Unfortunately we go caught up in it. I saw the 00 (David Reutimann) get turned and I was doing everything I could to avoid it and we got caught up in it.”
HOW DISAPPOINTED ARE YOU? “It is such a bummer. We had such a fast race car, such a great race team. You have to take what you can from this. The most disappointing thing is we don’t have a shot at winning the Daytona 500. We prepared so long and hard, these guys worked so hard and built me such a great race car. So that is the bummer. But at the same time, this could be a good lesson for us to repair this car and get back out there and get ourselves prepared to win a championship.”
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE RACING OUT THERE? “In the first eight or 10 cars, it is good, it is fun. But everybody is trying to do this two-car draft all the way to 38th and that is where you have to be careful. You can’t be three and four wide and five rows deep trying to push and shove one another. You have to use your head a little bit more and you have to be a little more patient. When it thins out, then we can go. A lot of guys aren’t waiting for it to thin out, they are just pushing and they are getting themselves in trouble.”
DO YOU KNOW HOW THE WRECK HAPPENED? “I don’t know, somehow the 00 got turned, I’m not really sure how. I’m pretty sure somebody was pushing him and he had to check up or something happened. You are going to see a lot more of it. It is just not going to work until we thin out the field. Unfortunately we are one of those cars that got thinned out of it. We’ll do what we can to get this Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet repaired and get back out there and get as many points as we can.
In Car Audio
In Car Audio without Spotter Chatter
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In Car Audio with Spotter Chatter
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