Gordon Hits Wall Goes To Backup

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RICHMOND, Va. – Jeff Gordon will have to go for his third straight NASCAR Winston Cup victory with a backup car.

Gordon crashed in the first post-qualifying practice Saturday after his throttle linkage hung for a moment. A team spokesman said Gordon’s Hendrick Motorsports team adjusted the throttle linkage before practice, but it caused the throttle pedal to accidentally stick to the floorboard.

Gordon immediately recognized the problem and yanked on a loop at the top of the pedal with his foot, but he was still going too fast for the corner and bounced off the Turn 1 wall.

Gordon, who was supposed to start 10th, will have to drop to the rear of the field. In Happy Hour, Gordon’s backup car was ninth-fastest. And, remember, the last time he had to use a backup car, Gordon won The Winston in 2001.

Friday was a rough day for Gordon. In an exhibition golf-cart race Friday morning, he fell out of his cart, and Jimmie Johnson ran over his hand.

“Do I have burns on my back?” Gordon said. “That was quite a ride. I had the pole position, and I knew that was the place to be. Jimmie got a little jump on me, but I was beating him going into (Turn) 1 and I wasn’t about to lift. The next thing I know, that thing really hooked up. Unfortunately, that seat didn’t have near as much grip as the tires did. Luckily, Jimmie was beside me and ran my hand over instead of my head, which was a good choice.”

Gordon said he wasn’t going to explain the incident to car owner Rick Hendrick.

“I hope nobody else tells him, either,” Gordon said. “When I left the trailer, (crew chief) Robbie (Loomis) told me to be careful and not get hurt because I had told him how wild it was last year. I won’t tell him about this.”

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