Over And Out

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Jeff Gordon started the year as the king of the world winning the Daytona 500 in February. But Saturday night, he was reduced to a pauper.

The four-time NEXTEL Cup Series champion needed to race his way into this year's "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup" with a strong run at Richmond in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400.

Unfortunately for Gordon, his string of troubles continued and after a 30th place finish, he was officially eliminated from this year's playoff season.

"It was going to be a long night no matter what," Gordon said. "I didn't think we had the car to get in it. It's a disappointing night and a disappointing season. Now we can just put this behind us and figure out what's wrong with the race team."

Gordon's DuPont Chevrolet was tight from the start of the race, but finally proved to be too much to handle when the No. 24 smacked the wall, effectively ending the night. Gordon finished 30th in the final standings and can now begin preparing for 2006.

"I don't really care where we end up in points now," Gordon said. "It's all about getting ourselves in position to get things turned around so we can go into next season and we want to challenge for the championship. We certainly don't want to be in the position we're in right now."

There's much to be decided within the No. 24 team including the crew chief role, which apparently will be vacated by current head Robbie Loomis. But despite the disappointment and impending changes on the horizon, Gordon tries to keep things in perspective.

"I've had some far more disappointing seasons than this one," he said. "Life is still pretty darn good for me right now. Racing is not everything. I've put my heart and soul into it like this team does and we want to win. But we also know at the end of the day, that it's not the number one thing in our lives and you got to take the good seasons with the bad seasons, and we've had a lot of good ones."

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