Heartbreak for Jeff Gordon
Photo by Franklin Romero/TheRacingExperts.com
Jeff Gordon leads Matt Kenseth at Phoenix International Raceway. Gordon scored his ninth runner-up finish of the season.
AVONDALE, Ariz.—While Jeff Gordon scored a second place Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, the result was not enough to advance the four-time Sprint Cup champ to the final round of the Chase next Sunday.
Gordon, who scored his fourth runner-up finish of the Chase, talked about the disappointment of missing a chance at a fifth title.
“I'm really proud of the effort, not just today but throughout this whole season and the Chase,” he said. “I couldn't be more proud of this team and the effort that they put out. I mean, Kevin was in another zip code. There was no touching him. But to come out of here second, I really thought second would get it done, but obviously it didn't.
“We did everything that we could, other than have a faster race car than Kevin. That was near impossible. But yeah, it's disappointing.”
Gordon held the fourth and final transfer spot at the white flag, but Ryan Newman’s final lap move and pass on Kyle Larson gave Newman a one point edge over Gordon.
Newman’s move, which put Larson in the wall, raised questions post-race if the move was acceptable.
“It was acceptable last week, it's acceptable this week,” Gordon said. “I mean, don't think that that's not going to come back to you, you know. I mean, I could have taken out Harvick, too, to make it in, but I didn't.”
Newman enters Homestead as the only winless driver among the four championship contenders. According to Newman, being winless entering the final race of the season doesn’t matter to him.
“It doesn't matter to me; I mean, in the end it really doesn't matter,” Newman said. “I think Denny kind of said that you could have a fast car, you could have a consistent car, you could have a good long-run car, and you've got pretty good chances of having a good day at Homestead.
“The fastest car may not win, the best car on a restart may not win. You just never know. It could come right down to fuel mileage and three of the four of us could be coasting on the last lap. You just never know.”