The three-time Daytona 500 winner finished 20th in "The Great American Race" on Sunday despite leading for 31 laps. It was the fourth consecutive year the 41-year-old finished 20th or worse. He finished 26th in 2010, 28th in 2011 and 40th last year.
There were some who believed Gordon was a dark horse in Sunday's race. He didn't win any of the preliminary events or practices during Speedweeks, but he was right there with the the leaders. He led for 38 laps in his qualifying race on Thursday and he finished second to Tony Stewart in Friday's second practice session.
Gordon said before the Daytona 500, via NASCAR.com:
I think we’re in the best position to win the race.
Everybody’s kind of been under the radar, other than (Kevin) Harvick...but a great chance to win the Daytona 500.
Gordon noted, via the NASCAR.com report, that he wanted to get off to a fast start in his quest for the Sprint Cup title this year. Placing 20th in Daytona Beach isn't horrible, but it isn't great, either.
Gordon's career resume is impressive. Beyond the three Daytona 500 victories, he's also won the Sprint Cup title four times. He's finished in the top 10 in the Sprint Cup standings for the last seven years.
But after another disappointing showing in Daytona Beach—despite an early lead—Gordon has to be frustrated.
Gordon is one of only five drivers in NASCAR history to post three or more career Daytona 500 victories. He will go down in the record books whether he performs well in Daytona Beach moving forward or not. But for a guy who has had so much success in the historic race, frustration continues to build for the NASCAR veteran.
Gordon hasn't won the Daytona 500 since 2005. It may stay that way moving forward.
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