Season Review: Jeff Gordon

Jeff Gordon

Gordon captured his 87th career win in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo: Getty Images)

2012 Race-by-Race Results

Jeff Gordon capped off the season on a high note by winning his 87th career race to earn a trip on stage at the annual banquet in Las Vegas.

In the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Gordon found himself having to race his way back to a 10th-place finish in the final standings thanks in part to what took place on the track the previous weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. Gordon was knocked to 11th in the standings following a 25-point penalty for an altercation with Clint Bowyer on the race track during the final laps of the AdvoCare 500.

Jeff Gordon"It's like our whole season wrapped up in one week," Gordon said after winning the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami. "Definitely the emotions, and you can try all you want to try to move past the moment, but it just ate me up inside all week. I just kept going back and forth about the decisions that I made and wishing I had made different decisions to backing up reasons why I made the decisions I made, and I just kept going back and forth from being disappointed, being angry, feeling that I had a right. I didn't have a right."

The win in the Ford EcoBoost 400 was special to Gordon for a number of reasons. One, Homestead-Miami was a track Gordon, and Hendrick Motorsports, had yet to win at.  And secondly, Gordon was running a special paint scheme to commemorate 20 years with his sponsor DuPont.

"This is a big win," said Gordon, who now only has Kentucky Speedway left as the active tracks he's yet to visit Victory Lane at. "I mean, we've been really close here in the past years with some good race cars, but just coming up a little bit short. With the way this team has handled things and fought through things and some great moments and some pretty low moments, to be able to end the season like this, pretty amazing.

Jeff Gordon"But I think what I'm most excited about is DuPont. To be able to have a special paint scheme commemorating 20 years together, it's such an incredible accomplishment, and then to be able to kind of pay them back or give them thanks by pulling that car into Victory Lane, I know how pumped they were. They were very, very excited, as well as I can't believe -- it's not very often you get Hendrick Motorsports a first for Rick Hendrick."

Gordon posted a 7.1 average finish in the eight races he was running at the finish in the Chase. Along with Phoenix, his only other DNF came in the Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway when the throttle stuck at halfway on his No. 24 Chevrolet sending him into the wall and to a 35th-place finish.

"I feel like this has been one of those seasons where I think we're going to get momentum and things are going to start happening positively," Gordon said. "We start to put some races together to find our way up further in the points, something just kind of reaches out and gets a hold of us and kind of knocks us back a little bit again."

To get into the Chase Gordon took the second Wild Card spot in a dramatic race at Richmond International Raceway. After coming up short for the win at Atlanta Motor Speedway the previous weekend, Gordon turned in a determined comeback performance - where he fought an ill-handling car and was several laps down - to finish second and edge Kyle Busch for the final Chase position.

“Wow, what a race for us,” Gordon said at Richmond after making his seventh consecutive Chase. “You can look at this race. All the things that have gone for us this year, everything went right for us tonight. We had some guys stay out there on tires on basically that last caution that really cost them good finishing positions. We came in and got tires at that time. We were able to drive up through there.”

Gordon's first win of the season came at Pocono Raceway in August. But it was Martinsville Speedway in the spring that appeared to look like it was going to be the first one. Gordon dominated the race - leading 328 laps - and just took the lead back after an epic battle with teammate Jimmie Johnson when a caution was thrown with three to go. When the field went back to green, Bowyer tried to make it three-wide and got into Gordon, which the caused Johnson to spin out. In the end, Gordon wound up with a 14th-place finish in what could have been the 200th victory for Hendrick Motorsports.

"The 200th win at Martinsville meant so much to all of us because we lost so much there. And that was taken away from us," Hendrick said. "Both of our cars were wrecked on the last lap and next to last lap and it was by the 15 car. I have never hurt as bad in my life leaving the racetrack as I did that day. It took me a week or so to get over it just because we had it in our grasp."

Jeff GordonGordon's 10th-place finish in the standings was his worst in the eight times he's qualified for the Chase. He finished the year with 11 top fives, 18 top 10s, two poles and two wins.

"You know, our team has worked so hard this year, and I'm so proud of them," Gordon said. "We've had great racecars this year. But yeah, we kind of do need a reset, and I'm looking forward to the 2013 car. I tested it a couple weeks ago. I thought it went really well. I think we've got some great things in store for that."

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, Jeff Gordon

Photos

  • From the Archives: Pocono
  • From the Archives: Pocono
  • From the Archives: Pocono
  • From the Archives: Pocono
  • From the Archives: Pocono
  • From the Archives: Pocono
  • From the Archives: Pocono
  • From the Archives: Pocono
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • Jeff Gordon Day Parade
  • Jeff Gordon Day Parade
  • Jeff Gordon Day Parade
  • Jeff Gordon Day Parade
  • Jeff Gordon Day Parade
  • 5-hour ENERGY 301
  • 5-hour ENERGY 301
  • 5-hour ENERGY 301
  • 5-hour ENERGY 301
  • 5-hour ENERGY 301
  • 5-hour ENERGY 301
  • 5-hour ENERGY 301
  • 5-hour ENERGY 301
  • 5-hour ENERGY 301
  • Testing at Chicagoland
  • Testing at Chicagoland
  • Testing at Chicagoland
  • Testing at Chicagoland
  • Testing at Chicagoland
  • Testing at Chicagoland
  • Testing at Chicagoland
  • Testing at Chicagoland
  • Testing at Chicagoland
  • Testing at Chicagoland
  • Testing at Chicagoland
  • Testing at Chicagoland

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