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« Bristol had so many empty seats because the track is no longer what it’s supposed to be | Main | Hard to imagine a worse start to 2012 for Hendrick Motorsports »

Junior-Gordon incident nothing more than bad luck

By admin | March 19, 2012

By Richard Allen

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Jeff Gordon were both having good runs for Hendrick Motorsports on Sunday at the Bristol Motor Speedway until things went awry late in the race. On lap 361, the two cars made slight contact which ultimately caused Gordon’s car to suffer a cut left rear tire. That, in turn, sent the #24 Chevrolet into the outside wall and ended his chances for a win or any sort of a good finish.

Immediately, both drivers began stating their cases over their team radios.

“Thank you, June,” Gordon said to his crew as he and his car sat helplessly on the track apron. “Appreciate it, buddy. I was just getting ready to give it (the position) to him, too.”

For his part, Earnhardt stated multiple times that the two cars barely touched and that there was no ill intent on his part. He also sent an apology to be delivered through his spotter to the Gordon team.

In reality, this incident was little more than a case of plain old bad luck. The two cars did make only the slightest of contact. But as that luck would have it, the header pipes on the #88 car touched the left rear tire on the #24 car. As a result of rubber coming in contact with red hot metal, the tire was damaged.

It would seem highly unlikely that there was any intent on Junior’s part as the odds of such a thing happening, intentional or not, are so slim that it would be impossible to plan. However, that didn’t seem to make Gordon feel any better.

Hours after the incident, Gordon posted on Twitter that it was, “Unfortunate what happened today. Big hit in points & missed opp for a strong finish. Doesn’t help when its contact with teammate.”

Teammate or not, this was just a “racin‘ deal” But it certainly was a blow to Gordon and his team after what looked like a certain top-5 finish was lost. He ultimately finished 35th on the day which dropped him six spots to the 23rd place in the overall standings. He is 74 points behind current points leader Greg Biffle and 38 points in back of the all important Chase for the Championship qualifying 10th place in the standings.

Earnhardt is currently the highest running HMS car in the 6th spot of the standings after his 15th place finish in Bristol. Junior was later busted for speeding on pit road which also cost him a potential top-5 result.

Hard to imagine a worse start to 2012 for Hendrick Motorsports http://racingwithrich.com/?p=1727

Topics: Articles |

3 Responses to “Junior-Gordon incident nothing more than bad luck”

  1. Offkilter Says:
    March 19th, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    I like them both, but Gordon brought that on himself by not giving the spot up 2 laps earlier.

    The speeding penalty on the 88 may or may not have been a worthy call. I still seen cars pitting on the caution pull onto pit road in single file as the rules state, only to gas it and pull even with the car in front as they got into their pit stall. Thats a load of bull and wrecks any credibility of a speeding on pit road penalty in my book. Dam a bunch of timing lines…. Its time to come up with a better way with gps.

    Also i don’t understand nascar’s no- call on Kenseth crossing the start- finish line first when he wasn’t the leader on two of those restarts. Others have done that and have gotten nailed for it.

  2. Chris Fiegler Says:
    March 20th, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Do you think that Eithr Jeff Gordon or Dale Earnhardt Jr. will win the Auto-Club 400?

  3. Offkilter Says:
    March 20th, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Probably a rousch car… They are usually on their game at the boring tracks.

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