Poor Jeff Gordon. He announced he would be retiring after this year and hasn't had a good race yet. Today's race was relatively tame by NASCAR standards, but nope. Gordon's car got crumpled into a sad little NASBALL once again.
A similar fate befell Gordon at today's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, with 69 laps to go this time. Cars were bunched up after a restart, and Denny Hamlin lost his rear end in the three-wide pack of cars behind the leaders. Hamlin collected Ryan Newman and Jamie McMurray in the spin.
Gordon almost squeaked by on the outside of the spinfest, but got tapped by Jamie McMurray in the rear, which damaged Gordon's rear and sent him out of control into the inside wall.
Unfortunately, it was an inside wall that wasn't protected by a SAFER barrier or other style of protective wall, so the impact caused a lot more damage to Gordon's car than it should have. (Didn't we just have this discussion?)
According to Fox Sports, Gordon pointed at the wall when a NASCAR official came to collect him. Last week, Atlanta Motor Speedway vowed to install 150 additional feet of protective barrier to the track in light of Kyle Busch's accident, where Busch broke his leg from hitting a hard wall next to this track. This stretch of wall was not one of them.
Fortunately, Gordon was unharmed by the impact, however, his car was absolutely done. Of the four cars involved in Hamlin's wreck, only Newman's car was able to be repaired and sent back into the race.
Hamlin took full responsibility for the accident.
"I apologize to all those cars involved," Hamlin told NASCAR. "It's tough. We had a good FedEx Ground Toyota for most of the day, we just lost the handle there … kind of put us in a spot we hadn't restarted all day and just got a little loose."
Perhaps Gordon should have waited to announce his retirement until after this season was over? If the first two races are any indication of how the rest of his season will go, it seems like a jinx.
Jimmie Johnson won today's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Gordon, unfortunately, finished a dismal 41st, placing him at a 72-point deficit to make up to get back on top of this season. Ouch.