By admin | April 16, 2008
Gordon, Kenseth prove that even the best can be worst
By Richard Allen
Jeff Gordon had only finished in last place one other time prior to his efforts in the Samsung 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway. In that race, however, his car was never right. From the beginning of the event, it was apparent he would not be adding TMS to the list of tracks on which he had won.
His car finally became so unmanageable that he lost control and slammed the wall. Attempts to repair the car and treat the rest of the race as a test session failed.
“I haven’t felt this lost at a race track since my rookie year,” Gordon admitted. “I can’t remember the last time we struggled this bad.”
Matt Kenseth is noted for his ability to take what starts out as a poor run and turn it into a good finish. Unfortunately for the Roush Fenway Racing driver, that did not turn out to be the case in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 in Phoenix.
Kenseth qualified 27th for that race but from the beginning he started slipping back in the pack. Even a pit stop during an early caution period did not help.
Within just a few laps of the restart, Kenseth was in last place and had the leaders bearing down on him. Just before he would have been lapped the #17 car hammered the wall.
“That’s what happens when we don’t do our jobs,” the frustrated driver was heard to say over his in car radio.
Kenseth’s team got their car back into the race and because of attrition managed to come out of last place to finish 38th.
Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth and their teams are among the best NASCAR has to offer. They have the race wins and championships to prove that, but on one particular day for each, they were little more than field fillers.
Perhaps the Car of Tomorrow and the difficulty of getting that car just right was the explanation for these poor performances. Maybe it was just a bad day or one of those weird “that’s never happened before” parts failures. Whatever the case, each of these great drivers and teams showed that even the best can be worst.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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