A week removed from his first win of the season, Jeff Gordon looked to be on top of the world. He was fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings only 27 markers out of first. After making the Chase thanks to a late addition by NASCAR, it looked as though Gordon could be in position to win his fifth title.
What a difference a week makes.
Sunday it all came undone during the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. After starting eighth, Gordon was quickly at the front of the field and it looked as though Gordon would be a contender for a win, or at least a solid finish.
It all came apart on lap 74. Entering turn 1 the No. 24 Chevy slammed the outside wall; Gordon was able to make it to the garage where his Hendrick Motorsports crew began to work feverishly.
"I just know that the left front went down as I was going down the front straightaway,” Gordon said. “I felt it before I got there, and I just couldn't get it slowed down enough. I don't know; the wind was so strong that the car was doing funky things down the straightaways. I don't know if that was a slow leak, or if it just went all of a sudden.”
Gordon said he had little warning the tire was going down.
“It didn't give me enough of a warning, that is for sure,” Gordon said. “I was going down the front straightaway and I felt the car move around a little bit. That was odd. But, the wind was buffeting and blowing so strong, the cars are moving around anyway. Just before I got to turn one, I felt it go down. I did everything I could to slow it down. I even had time to come on the radio and say 'Uh oh'. Well, I might have not said that, I said something else. I knew I was going to hit the wall. It is so unfortunate.”
The team was able to get Gordon back in the race, but he was 187 laps down and finished the day scored 38th.
Gordon fell three spots in the standings and leaves Texas 7th 69 points out of first.
“You just can't have things like this happen if you are going to make a run at a championship or battle with those guys,” Gordon said.