“Certainly a swing for Jeff Gordon’s first leg of the West Coast Swing.”
The race weekend began on Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with Cup practice showing the Hendrick Motor Sports No. 24 3M Chevrolet of Jeff Gordon strong in all pre-qualifying practices.
This was a good sign considering his finishes in Atlanta and Daytona relegated Gordon back in the 36th garage position at LVMS as the haulers were parked by owners’ points.
Gordon stated to Drafting the Circuits, “Well, it’s a hell of a walk from my trailer to here!”
As the day progressed the No. 24 team just got faster with each practice session.
All this time Jeff Gordon was hyper aware of his final season and being adorned with gifts from each track he has visited thus far in 2015.
Gordon won the pole at LVMS for the Kobalt 400 with a speed of 194.679
After his qualifying victory Gordon was asked about his memories of LVMS and fans chanting “Reconsider” to which he answered, “To be honest I would just take this and leave now, but we are having too much fun!”
During SATURDAY PRACTICES the No. 24 team needed only to work on tire management and fuel consumption but with 30 seconds left to go in Happy Hour the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing team of Danica Patrick got loose and punted the No. 24 car forcing the team to pull out the back-up car.
Sunday, race day, as all the other teams were fine tuning their machines they had presented and qualified including the No. 10, this reporter as well as all the fans with hot passes could see that the No. 24 team was madder than an “old wet hen” at what had transpired the day before!
With the No. 24 forced to start in the back of the field it was the whole of NASCAR fans waiting to witness the outcome of the first “swing of the West Coast Swing”.
When the GREEN FLAG fell Gordon started 43rd and worked his way through the pack. By halfway the No. 24 had broken the Top 10, but the next pit stop put him behind teammate Kasey Kahne in the No. 5 car and the No. 19 of Carl Edwards. Edwards had begun to wreck in Turn 4 and finished entering Turn 1 while trying to avoid Jeb Burton causing Gordon to rear end Burton producing significant damage. After multiple pit stops the 3M team had the No. 24 patched up as best they could.
All things considered, the No. 24 team showed strength and tenacity battling back to an 18th place finish to end the day at LVMS.
In my opinion the No. 24 team has the heart of a lion. This is constantly being proven by the fans not only at LVMS, but by the national media and his entire fan base. Their bull dog tenacity makes me wonder if Gordon will not be going out the way he came in – much like the month of March is described as “In like a lion out like a lamb.”
Yet I believe even the iconic Dale Earnhardt would be proud of the way Gordon represents the sport of NASCAR.
“Watch out Phoenix!”
No need to agree, that’s just how…
“VITO CEE’s IT”.
Editor’s note: All photos used were courtesy of Waylon Oakes for Drafting the Circuits.