Photo by Wesley Daniel / TheRacingExperts.Com
Jeff Gordon's journey to make NASCAR's playoffs this season might go down as a career-defining moment for the veteran driver.
By Dominic Aragon
No matter where his
team will finish in points this season, Jeff Gordon’s season overall is
something that can be regarded as remarkable.
With five races left before NASCAR wraps up the season, Gordon sits 9th in Cup points, over a full race back to point leader Brad Keselowski. The 24 car, with the exception of Charlotte on Saturday night, has run consistently run inside the top-5 in every Chase race this season. Yet, his competitors seem to be on an advanced level, which keep adding to his points deficit.
Although it would take nothing short of a miracle to win the championship, Gordon and his team are no stranger to dramatic situations in 2012.
Gordon made the Chase for the Sprint Cup this season in an unconventional fashion. The team started the year with a blown motor in the Daytona 500, and a streak of bad luck seemed to have no end in sight.
At one point in the season, Gordon had three top-10 finishes in 14 starts, and was mired back to 22nd in points. But a run of eight top-10 finishes over the next eleven races, including a rain-shortened win at Pocono, put his team with a chance of making the Chase.
The way Jeff Gordon made the Chase at Richmond can be viewed as one of the most remarkable comebacks in the history of the sport. To battle back from a lap down to finish second in a fuel strategy race and edge competitor Kyle Busch by three points to make the Chase.
If it weren’t for the wildcard scenario that was implemented last year, it is likely Gordon wouldn’t have made the Chase this season. The win at Pocono was the 24 team’s saving grace.
When we look back years from now, the 24 team’s rally to make a charge at the postseason is something that we will see as one of the biggest comebacks in sports history.