By admin | January 15, 2009
By Richard Allen
Over the next few days and weeks I will be presenting a review of 2008 and a preview of 2009 for each of the drivers and teams who appear to be set for a full time run in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. For the most part these pieces will run in order by car number. If you should miss out on your favorite driver simply type his name into the search box at the upper right hand portion of the website.
#24- Jeff Gordon
For many drivers a season of 13 Top 5s and 19 Top 10s would be considered an excellent campaign. However, for one of the greatest drivers of all time such a season could not be considered anything but disappointing because those other finishes were not accompanied by wins or a championship.
Such is the case for Jeff Gordon. The four time Sprint Cup champion who has 81 career wins does not have rebuilding years or moral victories. Only real wins and titles matter at this stage of his career.
2008 was the first non winning season for Gordon since he won his first race in 1994. As a matter of fact, the driver of car #24 had visited victory lane on multiple occasions in each of those years.
It seemed obvious that this team had difficulty getting a handle on the Car of Tomorrow. Gordon and his crew were not on the same page on more than one occasion. That fact was made public at times through broadcast scanner chatter and even in interviews.
In 2009 it is vital that driver and crew find the right formula for success. With testing limited, it will be difficult to make up ground.
However, this team has advantages that others may not. They have a successful teammate to rely on. Their resources are seemingly unlimited and they have a past history of achievement.
This team will recover in 2009. Gordon will visit victory lane although perhaps not with the frequency of the best years of his career.
Driver: Jeff Gordon
Owner: Hendrick Motorsports
Sponsor: DuPont, Pepsi and National Guard
Crew Chief: Steve Letarte
Scanner Frequencies(?): 467.0625 & 465.8625
Chances of making the Chase for the Championship: Made it even in a down year, so don’t bet against him.
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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