Monday, August 18, 2008

Beware! The Gordon is back!

When Jeff Gordon says he's going to "go for it," he usually means it. The gloves are off. No more Mr. Niceguy.

Showing his frustration a little, after the Watkins Glen race, and a lot after Sunday's race at Michigan International Speedway, Gordon indicated that he is tired of seeing the mistakes in the pits and bad car set ups ruin his chances to win a race. The last time he felt like this, Robby Loomis, who was his crew chief when he won his fourth NASCAR Cup Championship in 2001, lost his job. Now we have to believe that Steve Letarte is on his way out.

Gordon is not one, in spite of what some fans and media pundits may think, who is at the end of his career. He still has the fire, the desire, and the talent to win. That is why he is frustrated when it seems that his team and his teammates *cough*Jimmie Johnson*cough* are working against him. He is frustrated with points racing, because he is a winner, not a points racer.

And when Jeff Gordon is racing as a winner, he can out intimidate The Intimidator. If the late Dale Earnhardt was still with us, he wouldn't admit to that, but he wouldn't tell us we were wrong, either. Rusty Wallace, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, and Matt Kenseth are still around to affirm that statement, and they have and they will.

What will Hendrick Motorsports do with Gordon as far as giving him another crew chief? Darion Grubb seems to be on his way to Stewart-Haas Racing, but that may change. We doubt if Hendrick will want to switch crew chiefs between the 48 and the 24 team, because, if you have paid attention to Jimmie Johnson's driving abilities and the kinds of errors in judgement he is constantly making,* most of the 48 team's success is due to the genius of Chad Knaus. The 48 team is once again in contention for the championship, and HMS won't jeopardize that position in favor of the 24 team. What we expect to see is a crew chief switch between the 5 and the 24 team. We haven't seen Alan Gustafeson work with Gordon, not that we can remember, anyway. Just having someone with a different attitude on the pit box may be what Gordon needs.

* We don't mean to imply that Johnson isn't a top-notch driver, but he still has a lot to learn. Every race he has lost has been due to driver error, not by any call Knaus has made. He has made some dumb moves. Trying to pass between Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart and making it four wide is only one error in a long list. How many times have we seen him give up the lead while trying to block another car? How many times have we seen him miss his pit box--a nearly habitual error of his. All we are saying is that without Chad Knaus it is unlikely he would be a two time champion this early in his career. Knaus has done a great job of covering for Johnson's mistakes and overcoming the Champ's drawbacks.

Whatever happens within the Hendrick organization, we look forward to watching Jeff Gordon race with his fire stoked. Even though we are quick to say he is the driver we don't want to see win, he is, in a backhanded sort of way, one of our favorites. It is a thrill to watch him race when he is focused on winning, and to see him race with everything he has makes the experience exciting.

The season can only get better from here on out.

The Gordon is Back

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

is a car rice is very nice

Hrithik Roshan