Jeff Gordon On Rockingham Finish

Gordon, DuPont team human after all By Shawn A. Akers ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Feb. 21, 1999) Now here's something you don't hear every day: "Jeff Gordon is heading to the garage area with a blown engine." With Hendrick motors in his No. 24 DuPont...

Gordon, DuPont team human after all By Shawn A. Akers

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Feb. 21, 1999) Now here's something you don't hear every day: "Jeff Gordon is heading to the garage area with a blown engine."

With Hendrick motors in his No. 24 DuPont Refinishes Chevrolet, the probability for engine failure isn't very high. Try once in a blue moon.

But on Sunday, on lap 310 of the Dura-Lube/Big Kmart 400 at North Carolina Speedway, Gordon's Hendrick engine gave way, and he was finished for the day. He wound up next-to-last, in 42nd place.

"It's was unfortunate," Gordon said. "We were running good and doing exactly what we wanted to do. We led at times. I think we were going to be a big factor at the end. These guys don't left me down very often, especially with the engine department.

"Today it just blew up and I lost oil pressure. It was frustrating because we had a good run, but at the same time, we've been very fortunate. These things are bound to happen eventually."

The last time Gordon blew an engine was back on March 10, 1997, at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He finished 42nd in that event as well.

Gordon led Sunday's 393-lap event a whopping seven times for 90 laps, and was running in the top-five when his engine blew up. After winning the season-opening Daytona 500 last Sunday, Gordon was looking for this fourth consecutive win overall, dating back to Rockingham late last season. He was also going for his third straight victory at the 1.017-mile oval, but it just wasn't meant to be Sunday.

In an unusual turn of events, Gordon fell out of the top-10 in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings. He's 11th after two of 34 races.

Some of Gordon's fellow competitors weren't too unhappy with his misfortune.

"I really wasn't aware of what had happened (with Gordon) until we got to the gas pumps (after the race)," said Dale Jarrett, who finished third. "It's unfortunate for them, but we appreciate it because it helps us out a lot."

"My spotter said he thought he (Gordon) blew up going down the back straightaway," said Bobby Labonte, who finished second on Sunday. "He said something happened to him, and to look for anything that might be there. I had to keep racing like it didn't happen. But like Dale (Jarrett) said, 'We do appreciate it."

Gordon will have a couple of weeks before Las Vegas to put Rockingham behind him. And you can bet the DuPont Refinishes team will come back with a vengeance.

"It doesn't matter what you do from the last race," Gordon said. "It's what you do at the next race. For us to win the championship, we have to be consistent every weekend now. We got a jump start on a lot of those guys last weekend. This is going to close things up quite a bit and there are going to be some guys who get a jump start on us now. I always knew (the Rainbow Warriors) were (human). Maybe everybody else didn't."

Source: NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte