The bad luck Jeff Gordon has been having for most of the 2012 Racing season returned late in The Geico 400 on Sunday afternoon. The Chicagoland race track, and a sticky throttle may well have taken the four time Cup Champion out of contention for a Sprint Cup title this year. He stated after the incident, “I just let off the throttle, and it just didn’t come all the way back,” Gordon said as his crew tried to repair the car. “It was probably about half-throttle, which is still enough to do a lot of damage. We’re looking at what the issue is right now, what could have caused it.”
Gordon is now in last place in the Cup Points Standings, and is trailing new Points leader Brad Keselowski by 47 points. That’s going to be a tough hill to climb, and Jeff Gordon, for all practical purposes, is out of it. After his remarkable late run to get the last Wild Card position, bad luck caught up again to dash his hopes of wining a Sprint Cup title. Jeff has not won since Sprint has taken over, and the Race For The Chase was instituted. In fact Jeff hasn’t won a title sine Nascar adopted the Car Of Tomorrow (COT).
Gordon had two second place finishes at Atlanta and Richmond, and a third at Bristol in his late season run, to nip Kyle Busch for that last spot. It looked like the bad luck had subsided, and things were turning around for a change, but it wasn’t to be.
Jeff, throughout his career has never adjusted to the COT car, and the chase format spelled an end to his glory days. In 2004, the first year of the chase, Jeff Gordon entered the chase in third position after the distribution of points. Had they been running on the old format, Jeff would have won his fifth championship instead of Kurt Busch getting his first.
Being a long time Gordon fan, I am hoping the new cars that are coming in 2013 will be something that will fit his eye, and bring back some of the success he had earlier in his career when he was unbeatable. I just hope Father time hasn’t done to him, the same thing it has done to me, and that is catch him before he gets that deserved fifth title.
As we look forward to New Hampshire, I have to hope the throttle problems in the #24 have been found. This track has some stigma from throttle hanging problems. In 2000. Adam Petty was killed during a practice run for a Busch Series race, when his throttle hung while exiting turn two. Later that year, Kenny Irwin Jr. was killed with almost the identical problem. The two deaths predicated the use of emergency kill switches for drivers safety. Later that year for the September race, for safety reasons, Nascar mandated the use of restrictor plates at New Hampshire, making it the only time they were ever used outside of Daytona or Talladega.
Adam Petty was the son of Kyle Petty, and Grandson of The King. He had a promising career in front of him that was cut short. Kenny Irwin Jr. was the 1998 Rookie of The Year, and had taken over the famous Robert Yates #28 Texaco ride from Ernie Irvin. This was Davey Allison’s ride at the time of his death at Talladega.
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