Same old song: Jeff Gordon finishes 13th with arguably the best car
By: By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service, Superior Telegram
DOVER, Del. -- For Jeff Gordon, the hard-luck scenario is getting old -- in a hurry.
Gordon's No. 24 Chevrolet was arguably the fastest car in Sunday's FedEx 400 at Dover International Speedway. Clearly, he was the only driver able to hang with Jimmie Johnson, the race winner.
But a battle for the win between the Hendrick Motorsports teammates failed to materialize because Gordon had to make an unscheduled pit stop on Lap 250 while his crew tightened a rear wheel left loose on the previous stop.
Gordon pitted again as planned on lap 325, but he was a lap down when NASCAR called a debris caution on Lap 339. Though Gordon got back on the lead lap with a wave-around under the yellow, he couldn't work his way back to the front of the field and challenge Johnson for the win.
"The fastest car doesn't always win the race," Gordon said. "And we're sitting here in 13th, or whatever -- it's silly. . . . It's always more frustrating when you've got a car that can win, and you show it by going up there and taking the lead.
"We don't care about finishing top-15 or top-10 right now. That does nothing for us. We need wins."
Gordon never saw the debris that caused the caution that trapped him a lap down, but he's going to be looking for it in a replay of the TV broadcast.
"Yeah, I can't wait to see that debris on TV," Gordon said. "I'd like to see it, because I certainly never saw it. I'm not going to make any comments until I see what their reasoning for it was.
"I don't know who you blame if there wasn't really much out there, because all the media has been talking about all week long is 'Oh, there's no cautions, there's no cautions.' It used to be debris cautions, so who do you blame that on?"
BLOWN TIRE COSTS EDWARDS
If Gordon has been beset with rotten luck, so has Carl Edwards, who hasn't won a race since March 2011, at Las Vegas.
Edwards was running fifth on Lap 164, when his right-front tire exploded, sending his No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford hard into the Turn 2 wall. Edwards finished 26th and dropped from 10th to 12th in the Cup standings.
"Our front right tire went flat -- I don't know exactly why," Edwards said ruefully as his team repaired the car. "This is such a fun racetrack, and the car was so good. Our whole team had done a really good job so far. . . .
"It's so frustrating to have that good of a car. I love racing here. We will come back and get them in the fall. It's so much fun. It's such a blast. I'm really frustrated our day got cut short."
KENSETH WARY OF HENDRICK CARS
Matt Kenseth's third-place run at Dover moved him one point behind Cup series leader and Roush Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle, but the RFR drivers are also looking over their shoulders.
With Johnson winning at Darlington and Dover, and Kasey Kahne victorious at Charlotte, Hendrick Motorsports drivers have won the last three points races as the series reaches the halfway point to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
"I feel good about our position," Kenseth said. "Obviously, any time during the year, you want to be as high as you can in the points. If we make the Chase, they rank (the starting positions) by wins, so that is what you look at right now.
"Certainly we have some work to do. I don't think anyone could run with the 48 (Johnson) and 24 (Jeff Gordon) today. It seemed to me that they were in a league of their own -- and we have some work to do."