NASCAR Standings: Is Jeff Gordon's Chase Over After Chicago?
Look at the finishing order of Sunday's NASCAR race at Chicagoland Speedway, and it's easy to think Jeff Gordon's hopes of winning his fifth championship are over and done.
After all, the Hendrick Motorsports driver finished 35th and is a whopping 47 points behind leader and Chicago winner Brad Keselowski.
But be advised: If you're going to write Gordon off, you do so at your own risk. Because if he has taught us anything this season, it is that no matter the hurdle, the 24 team can find a way to clear it.
By now, Gordon's comeback just to make the Chase has been well-documented. He was 25th in the standings after five races this season, and it was clear by May he would need a wild card to make the Chase.
Even when Gordon did get that victory at Pocono, trouble still lurked around the corner. There was a last-lap spin at Watkins Glen which cost him a top-10, followed by a blown motor the next week at Michigan. With his season hanging delicately in the balance, Gordon responded in only a way a driver who has won 86 Sprint Cup races and four championships can.
In three consecutive races leading into the Chase, Gordon finished strong. He finished third at Bristol, a close second to Denny Hamlin at Atlanta and then pulled a rabbit out of his hat at Richmond by coming back from a lap down to finish in the runner-up position.
So seeing the barriers Gordon has knocked down this year, can you really cross his name off the list of title contenders?
In just about any other year, sure. But this season isn't one of them.
Watching Gordon in the garage on Sunday as repairs were being made to his wounded Chevrolet was to see a driver who knew he wasn't out of contention. This was a man who wasn't feeling sorry for himself. Instead, he fully understood what this year was all about and that one poor race didn't mean his season was over.
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