Jeff Gordon is sitting sixth in the Sprint Cup standings. But to read the latest articles about him, you would think that he has thrown in the towel. NASCAR fans have very high expectations of Gordon, but maybe we are being just a little unfair to him.
The last article I read made that argument that Gordon isn’t winning because he loves his daughter and drinking wine. Come on. What, did little Ella get into the family’s wine collection and then go out and trash daddies radio before the Glen? Somehow I don’t think so.
Let's face it: Gordon is a substantial part of the No. 24 team, but it is still a team. Gordon is a great road-course driver, and I know we were expecting a lot from him at the Glen, but you can’t put all the blame on Gordon.
Things haven’t been going right with the car; you can only ask Gordon to do so much. The fact that he is still so high in the standing is a testament to his driving ability. A lesser driver couldn’t handle the problems Gordon has had.
Yes, Gordon needs a win. However, he hasn’t been driving like a rookie or a guy about to quit. Gordon is a four-time series champion. I believe what people are calling lack of interest is really just poise. He doesn’t need to freak-out publicly; that won’t fix the problems the No. 24 team is having.
Nevertheless, if you need to cite a time when he lost his composure to know he still has a passion for racing, then I would point to his trash talk about Kyle Busch after Pocono. If you aren’t interested in racing anymore, why do you care how Kyle is or isn’t performing?
Finally, let’s look at Gordon's numbers this season. If you spilt that season into two halves—the Daytona 500 to Darlington, and Charlotte to Watkins Glen—the numbers say that Gordon is warming up, not dying out.
The first half of this season, Gordon had an average finish of 16.5. He has since brought that up in the second half of the season to 12.7. The fact that the team has been having problems with the car is also clearly shown in black and white.
Starting position is a direct result of how well the car ran during qualifying. At the beginning of the season, Gordon had and average start of 9.4, which has now dropped to 12.9. Despite his qualifying issues, however, still he has maintained his place at the top of the Chase.
That sure sounds like a driver who isn’t trying out there.
It seems to me that Gordon’s slump has finally given all those haters of Jeff Gordon something to sink there teeth into. Well, the season is far from over. Haters may find themselves eating crow before long.