Hendrick Woes Continue
March 3, 2008 | 10:27 A.M. EST
While Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second to Carl Edwards in Sunday's UAW-Dodge 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the rest of the Hendrick stable struggled.
Jimmie Johnson's quest to win his fourth straight Las Vegas race never got on track as the Lowe's Chevrolet driver struggled all weekend.
After a poor qualifying effort, Johnson was never a factor in Sunday's race and limped home 29th.
"We don't really know right now what was wrong with the car," crew chief Chad Knaus said. "We just didn't quite have the speed in it that we needed."
Jeff Gordon's day was even rougher than Johnson's.
The four-time series champion was involved in an accident with Matt Kenseth in the closing laps of the race and crashed hard into the inside backstretch barrier.
The impact was so severe, it ripped the front of Gordon's DuPont Chevrolet off the car with its radiator thrown on to the track.
"It was a really, really hard hit," said Gordon. "It took me a while to be able to catch my breath and to get out. I looked down and I saw where the transmission was and it was no longer there. That's probably the hardest I've ever hit and you know it was my fault.
"We were all pushing so hard there. I got a little bit tight underneath Matt and turned it up into him. I was trying to stay out of hitting him after he spun and it just turned me sideways. I couldn't have hit the wall at a worse angle. It really tore the thing up."
With no safer barrier on the inside wall, Gordon was fortunate to not have been seriously injured in the vicious accident.
"I would love to talk to them," said Gordon of track management. "I tell you what, that kind of hit shouldn’t happen. There is no reason why any track we go to should have that. I could have been really hurt bad, and fortunately it turned out okay."