Jeff Gordon is having some of the worst luck a NASCAR driver can have during the 2012 season. He has had fast cars all year long but has had some sort of problem that has derailed his finishes. This weekend at Dover International Speedway was no different.
Gordon had what looked like to be the fastest car on the track passed the halfway point, but had to come down pit road about 20 laps after green flag pit stops because of something that Gordon said over his radio felt “weird.” Turns out that weird feeling was a loose wheel. Gordon fell to 22nd and was the first car two laps down. He was able to pass Jimmie Johnson to get one lap down and retook the lead after the rest of the leaders made their regularly scheduled green flag pit stops.
Gordon’s bad luck seemed to have been good fortune for the 24 team as they were able to pit with 75 laps to go on their next stop and were able to make it on one more stop which should have left Gordon in victory lane barring a caution. Unfortunately for Gordon, the caution did come out. It was a debris caution that the four-time champ questioned after the race. There was no sign of debris during the coverage of the race and Gordon may have had a point.
He was able to take the wave around during that caution to get back on the lead lap and rallied to finish 13th.
However, with Gordon sitting back in 21st in the points, he needs to start collecting wins if he is going to make the chase. The season is now halfway over until the chase starts and it will be a hard climb to get into the top 10 in points, especially with the luck he has had.
One thing that is a positive for Gordon this season is that he has the cars that can compete for wins. Today was a perfect example of that. It was even acknowledged by Johnson in his post-race interview that if Gordon didn’t have bad luck he would have probably won the race.
Another thing that has to be considered, is that maybe Gordon isn’t having bad luck and that his team needs to step up their performance. Yes it was just mentioned that the 24 team and Gordon have cars that can win races, but it’s the performance of the crew during the race that has to get looked at. The problem at Dover was because of a loose wheel. That is something that isn’t really bad luck and is just an error by the pit crew.
At Fontana, Gordon’s crew had two penalties, one for dragging the gas can out of pit road and one for an uncontrolled tire. These are the races that aren’t caused by bad luck, they are caused by constant mistakes being made on pit road. Mix that in with some of the bad luck he has had and you have a recipe for a bad season.
The bad luck will end soon enough for Gordon and company, they just have to make sure they get their own problems under control if they want to make the chase.
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