Over the last few laps of the GEICO 500, Jeff Gordon’s campaign for a possible fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship hung by a thread as drivers at Talladega swapped positions.
Ultimately, Gordon finished 26th, good enough to keep him in the Chase by three points over Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne, who finished 12th.
“We were in, we were out,” Gordon said. “We were in good position and bad position. Those last couple of laps were the most nerve-wracking laps of my life, so I’m glad they’re over…
“If I never have to come back to Talladega, I’ll be fine with that. I’m just excited about our chances to get to Homestead, and those chances come in these next few races--Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix. Those are great tracks for us.”
Gordon was the only one of four Hendrick drivers to advance to the Eliminator Round. Teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Kahne were eliminated after the Talladega cutoff race.
“We knew that Jimmie and Junior were in tough positions, but if anybody could win this race, either one of those guys could,” Gordon said. “I knew Kasey was going to race hard all day and he was in and out, in and out. I really thought he was going to make it, but I guess (race runner-up Matt) Kenseth getting that late charge may have been the game changer there.
“It’s very difficult. These are three guys that could be major factors in this championship. They are great teams, great drivers and friends of mine. I hate to see them not in there. But we’re going to try to make Hendrick proud and go out there and get ourselves to Homestead.”