Gordon “enjoyed every moment” of final Daytona 500
Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images
Jeff Gordon races in the lead pack in the Daytona 500.
The 33rd place finish in his last Daytona 500 was not reflective of his performance, but nonetheless, Jeff Gordon remained positive post-race Sunday.
Competing in his 23rd Daytona 500, Gordon led a race high and career high 87 laps. Gordon was shuffled back on a restart, and didn’t lead again after lap 111.
“I enjoyed every moment of it,” he said. “I enjoyed the pre-race and the race; all the way up to that wreck.”
Gordon finished as the last car on the lead lap.
“It is disappointing because things were going so well, especially that first half,” he said. “That first half was amazing. I was enjoying that moment very, very much. Just being out front. Being in control of the race. I felt like we were just doing everything perfectly. The car was amazing. I knew it was going to be crucial to maintain that track position.
“That one restart I chose the outside and that line just didn't go. From that point on, we were just playing catch up.”
Gordon admits choosing the outside lane for a restart past the halfway mark in the race played a role in the team not being able to bounce back.
“That one restart, I chose the outside, I was really basing it off who I thought was behind me that could push me; we just didn't go,” he said. “The inside lane went better. We got shuffled back. And we just never recovered after that. We were doing everything we could. I think we were between fifth and 10th and I could never break through to get any further forward.