FAQ  •  Register  •  Login

Gordon picked up speed in his restart

<<

austin024

User avatar

Posts: 241

180

Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:51 pm

Post Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:31 pm

Gordon picked up speed in his restart

Gordon picked up speed in his restart
By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / September 22, 2011


Jeff Gordon says he didn’t feel compelled to reinvent himself when he was paired with crew chief Alan Gustafson during an organizational shakeup at Hendrick Motorsports before the start of the 2011 NASCAR season.

Gordon, 40, now with flecks of gray sprouting from his sideburns, felt he was the same driver who was winning three NASCAR titles during his roaring 20s and his turbo-charged 30s.

“I’ve never been one to focus on age and whether I was young or I was old,’’ said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet, one of three Hendrick drivers who qualified for this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. “I think the only reason it’s come up this year is because I’ve not stepped up and performed the way that was championship-caliber the last couple of years.’’

Since NASCAR adopted its 10-race playoff format, Gordon had been rendered an afterthought by teammate Jimmie Johnson, whose fifth consecutive title last year broke the tie he shared with Gordon for most among active drivers.

While Johnson was busy hoarding his five trophies, Gordon was struggling to win one under the new format. He finished third in 2004, sixth in 2006 (after failing to make the cut in 2005), second in 2007, seventh in 2008, third in 2009 (in a Hendrick 1-2-3 sweep), and ninth last year.

“You could easily look at it and say, ‘Well, he’s older, he’s a dad now, and he’s got a couple of kids.’ So you could easily blame it on that,’’ Gordon said. “But I haven’t gone anywhere. I haven’t changed.

“It’s just that we’re focusing on the fine-tune areas of making our stuff capable of winning and being championship-caliber instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.’’

Still, car owner Rick Hendrick could see that the time Gordon had spent away from Victory Lane was beginning to take its toll.

“He’s always been a team player, but I could see that Jimmie winning those championships got to him,’’ Hendrick said. “And when Jimmie won the fifth one and he was no longer tied with Jeff, he now had one more than Jeff did and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to split them up and put them in different buildings and pair them with the other team.’’

So Gordon moved out of the 24/48 shop he shared with Johnson and, in effect, moved into Mark Martin’s seat in the No. 5 car, inheriting Gustafson as his crew chief and the 5’s crew. Dale Earnhardt Jr. went over to the 24/48 shop and was paired with Gordon’s former crew chief, Steve Letarte.

“You know it had to work on his head,’’ Hendrick said. “He had a drought in winning races and he had a drought with Jimmie winning championships. So I felt like he and Alan would be a good team.’’

Ending the drought
Hendrick’s hunch proved to be correct, as Gordon rebounded from a poor showing in the season opener at Daytona - where he started second but finished 28th - and won the next race at Phoenix.

That snapped Gordon’s winless streak of 66 races that dated back to his victory at Texas April 5, 2009. It was the only victory Gordon had that season, one that was sandwiched by winless seasons in 2008 and 2010.

“When I saw him and Alan knock off that first win at Phoenix, I saw their jubilation in getting that out of the way,’’ Hendrick said. “I don’t think Jeff ever lost his confidence, but you surely are just not as confident as you were.’’

Especially after a span of three seasons in which he won just once in 108 races.

“But after he got the first win, I could see him and Alan just jelling,’’ Hendrick said. “Then here comes that second [at Pocono in June] and a third win [at Atlanta over Labor Day weekend].

“He could’ve won Bristol and he could’ve won Richmond, so he could’ve been sitting on three in a row. It’s definite, the confidence and the chemistry is there with he and Al.’’

Gordon and Gustafson were off and running, but their partnership was put to the test when they could cobble together only a pair of top-five results at Martinsville (fifth) and Talladega (third) over the next 10 races.

“I’ve known him a number of years,’’ Gordon said of Gustafson. “We’ve talked along the way about his philosophy on set-ups and the things they were doing and I was always impressed and always felt like we got along well and always wondered what it’d be like to work with him.

“This year I’ve gotten that opportunity and, yeah, he’s the real deal. He’s got all the ingredients to be a championship-caliber crew chief and I’m enjoying getting to experience that.’’

Gustafson, too, has come to enjoy working with Gordon.

“The thing about Jeff is he’s as complete as any driver,’’ Gustafson said. “He’s a very good teammate, he’s a very good team member, and he’s a very good racecar driver, so you don’t have to worry about a lot.

“You don’t have to worry about him getting caught up in things he shouldn’t be concerned about. He’s a very smart guy and he knows where to focus his energy. He makes it very easy for me to focus on building the team as strong as you can build it.’’

Next stop, Loudon
The trust and confidence driver and crew chief have was forged in the three victories they shared this season, Gordon’s first multiple-win season since 2007 when he had six.

“A win can do so much for the entire team, and that’s why I’ve said many times this year, a win validates things,’’ Gordon said. “It confirms and builds confidence and chemistry within a team.

“You can have the exact same record in top fives and top 10s and accumulate a lot of points, and you can say, ‘Hey, we’re really good,’ ’’ Gordon said. “But if you don’t get that win - or wins - you’re missing something and it does start to affect you eventually: ‘Aw, we’re good, but we’re not good enough to win.’

“I think that’s the difference between this year versus last year, is that we’re capable of getting into Victory Lane and it’s built our confidence in everything we’re doing.’’

While Gordon generated considerable momentum in qualifying as the No. 3 seed for the Chase, his confidence remained intact despite his 25th-place finish in Monday’s rain-delayed Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, which sent him tumbling eight spots to 11th in the points, 25 astern of leader Kevin Harvick.

Gordon hopes to regain some traction in Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He has led the most laps (1,226) of any driver in the Chase, and won three times at Loudon’s 1.058-mile oval (1995, ’97-98), tying him with Kurt Busch for the most by any Cup driver.

“It’s not the easiest track to get figured out,’’ said Gordon, who also has 10 top fives and 18 top 10s in his 33 starts at NHMS. “But, you’re right, it has been a good track for me.’’

Gordon hopes NHMS will serve as a springboard in his resurgence as a championship contender.

“You can call it resurgence or you can call it whatever,’’ Gordon said. “But there’s no doubt the confidence is back, because it hasn’t been there the last few years. But it’s not because I’m doing anything different.

“I’m just able to drive a racecar and be part of a race team that is just special.’’

Michael Vega can be reached at vega@globe.com.

© Copyright 2011 Globe Newspaper Company.




Thought is was a cool article, so i figured i would share it



I am who I am, If you dont like me. You Can kiss my ####
<<

Smokeshow14

User avatar

Posts: 1774

190

Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:49 pm

Location: Silver Spring Maryland

Post Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:11 pm

Re: Gordon picked up speed in his restart

Didn't he finish 24th? Doesn't make them irrelevant? :P
Cup: 14, 1, 29, 88, 99, 11, 17, 39, 15, 5, 2, 16
NW: 7, 31, 3, 11, 60, 88, 12
Trucks: 9, 88, 3, 7, 17, 31
IRL: 10, 11, 12, 26, 3, 38, 27
RIP Dan Wheldon
"Fight for Four"- Annalee
You got to have a big gigantic drum kit.
<<

michaeljohn

User avatar

Posts: 8931

Images: 0
10183

Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:06 pm

Post Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:44 pm

Re: Gordon picked up speed in his restart

o big talker, tony wins a race and u can knock everyone else, how did jamie mac do??? talk about someone who didnt show up to race, a flash in the pan..................
I miss you Frehley........
<<

austin024

User avatar

Posts: 241

180

Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:51 pm

Post Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:51 pm

Re: Gordon picked up speed in his restart

Smokeshow14 wrote:Didn't he finish 24th? Doesn't make them irrelevant? :P





Where Jamie Mac?



I am who I am, If you dont like me. You Can kiss my ####
<<

Smokeshow14

User avatar

Posts: 1774

190

Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:49 pm

Location: Silver Spring Maryland

Post Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:39 pm

Re: Gordon picked up speed in his restart

It's funny all you two can do is try to make fun of Jamie Mac just because he is having a rough year. He is actually running better had a blown motor at chicagoland while running in the top te, but struggled at Loudon. No worries though it is what it is he is still a great driver and a Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 champion. He will be back next season better than ever.

Oh and Tony has two wins now not one ;).
Cup: 14, 1, 29, 88, 99, 11, 17, 39, 15, 5, 2, 16
NW: 7, 31, 3, 11, 60, 88, 12
Trucks: 9, 88, 3, 7, 17, 31
IRL: 10, 11, 12, 26, 3, 38, 27
RIP Dan Wheldon
"Fight for Four"- Annalee
You got to have a big gigantic drum kit.
<<

austin024

User avatar

Posts: 241

180

Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:51 pm

Post Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:46 pm

Re: Gordon picked up speed in his restart

Smokeshow14 wrote:It's funny all you two can do is try to make fun of Jamie Mac just because he is having a rough year. He is actually running better had a blown motor at chicagoland while running in the top te, but struggled at Loudon. No worries though it is what it is he is still a great driver and a Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 champion. He will be back next season better than ever.

Oh and Tony has two wins now not one ;).



And what all have you done recently?



I am who I am, If you dont like me. You Can kiss my ####
<<

michaeljohn

User avatar

Posts: 8931

Images: 0
10183

Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:06 pm

Post Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:59 pm

Re: Gordon picked up speed in his restart

i could careless about jamie mac, your are a fare-weather fan, you jump on the driver that is doing good that particular week, so tony won 2 races good for him, but your the first to bash him, when he runs mid pack, last year you were in love with denny, at the beginning of this year, you were all over harvicks jock, then for a couple weeks, you wanted to do kyle, now your in love with tony cuz he is winning, your a phony fan, the worst kind in nascar.....
I miss you Frehley........
<<

Smokeshow14

User avatar

Posts: 1774

190

Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:49 pm

Location: Silver Spring Maryland

Post Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:37 pm

Re: Gordon picked up speed in his restart

michaeljohn wrote:i could careless about jamie mac, your are a fare-weather fan, you jump on the driver that is doing good that particular week, so tony won 2 races good for him, but your the first to bash him, when he runs mid pack, last year you were in love with denny, at the beginning of this year, you were all over harvicks jock, then for a couple weeks, you wanted to do kyle, now your in love with tony cuz he is winning, your a phony fan, the worst kind in nascar.....


Your sir are a tool...

First off I have been a Tony fan since he was in the IRL in 1997. Always have stuck with him. This is why these wins feel so good right now because instead of having a career low season like it looked, he looks posied to win a third championship. I don't bash him when he runs bad. Have I ever questioned his ability? I have questioned his team's but him . I have said it many times that he is the best driver. I am still a fan of Hamlin and Harvick smart one (Harvick is my 3rd driver and Hamlin grew up near me so that is why I like him), so I want to see them do well. As for Kyle I am not a fan, but I don't dislike him as much as before.

Your not only a tool but a troll and an #### and that does not represent NASCAR fans in a good light. At least Forumla one fans who are also #### are smart ####.
Last edited by Smokeshow14 on Mon Sep 26, 2011 8:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Cup: 14, 1, 29, 88, 99, 11, 17, 39, 15, 5, 2, 16
NW: 7, 31, 3, 11, 60, 88, 12
Trucks: 9, 88, 3, 7, 17, 31
IRL: 10, 11, 12, 26, 3, 38, 27
RIP Dan Wheldon
"Fight for Four"- Annalee
You got to have a big gigantic drum kit.
<<

michaeljohn

User avatar

Posts: 8931

Images: 0
10183

Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:06 pm

Post Mon Sep 26, 2011 8:17 pm

Re: Gordon picked up speed in his restart

austin i changed my mind, gordon is irrelevant, he hasnt done nothing for the sport, 85 wins? im not impressed, there are two other drivers ahead of him, 4 championships, again 3 men ahead of him, so what if he is 1 of 4 men that won the championship 4 times or more, he hasnt done anything for two weeks, time to hang it up.......
I miss you Frehley........
<<

austin024

User avatar

Posts: 241

180

Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:51 pm

Post Mon Sep 26, 2011 8:46 pm

Re: Gordon picked up speed in his restart

michaeljohn wrote:austin i changed my mind, gordon is irrelevant, he hasnt done nothing for the sport, 85 wins? im not impressed, there are two other drivers ahead of him, 4 championships, again 3 men ahead of him, so what if he is 1 of 4 men that won the championship 4 times or more, he hasnt done anything for two weeks, time to hang it up.......




I know man :( Jamie mac is the nex best thing they say



I am who I am, If you dont like me. You Can kiss my ####
<<

michaeljohn

User avatar

Posts: 8931

Images: 0
10183

Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:06 pm

Post Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:59 pm

Re: Gordon picked up speed in his restart

yup. its ok for other drivers to win once in awhile, and they are making an impact in the sport.
I miss you Frehley........
<<

michaeljohn

User avatar

Posts: 8931

Images: 0
10183

Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:06 pm

Post Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:27 pm

Re: Gordon picked up speed in his restart

the last comment i will make on this subject is this, if a certain person feels jeff gordon is irrelevant, because he finished 24th in a race, well then tony is way lower down on the ladder, im not a gordon fan, im not a stewart fan, but i give respect where it is due, they both deserve everything they get, but the fact gordon is finishing his 18th full year in nascar and still winning, says a lot. getting the new CC has done wonders for him, so props to gordon........
I miss you Frehley........

Return to NASCAR & Racing

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests

stewart haas logo footer



Terms of Use  |  Site Map  |  Privacy Policy  |  FAQ  |  Contact Us
COPYRIGHT © STEWART-HAAS RACING, LLC. All rights reserved.
Do not duplicate or redistribute in any form.
Approved by Tony Stewart & Gene Haas
PLEASE REPORT ANY PROBLEMS OR COMMENTS TO THE WEBMASTER