Driver of No. 24 was trying to avoid spinning Clint Bowyer RELATED: Gordon says goodbye to the Brickyard Jeff Gordon ran into trouble on Lap 50 in his final appearance as a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gordon damaged the left-front side of his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet when he hit the wall at the 2.5-mile superspeedway while trying to avoid a spinning Clint Bowyer . Gordon made light contact with teammate Kasey Kahne 's No. 5 Chevrolet as he veered right to avoid Bowyer. The driver of the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 15 Toyota was racing alongside Kevin Harvick when his car appeared to get loose and went into a spin. "I was underneath Kasey Kahne and we were just racing for position," Gordon said. "I saw (Clint) Bowyer get sideways. I don't know what caused it. Me and Kasey were trying to check up to avoid it. I don't know if he got loose or we just both got loose together. Then I just lost control and got in the wall." Gordon , a five-time winner at Indianapolis who spent time racing as a teenager while living in Pittsboro, Indiana, went to pit road twice to get significant repairs. The second time, NBCSN reported that the crew had to cut away part of the left-front fender to prevent it from rubbing the tire, and he was penalized for speeding on pit road. RELATED: Gordon goes home to Pittsboro Gordon returned to the track but, by Lap 66, was scored five laps down. The NASCAR tower asked Gordon to pick up his speed as he was having trouble meeting the minimum 58.11-second lap required of cars in the race. When Gordon couldn't meet the speed, he brought the No. 24 to the garage. "Yeah, we're never going to give up," Gordon said. "We got back out there as fast as we could. The splitter was too torn up on the front and creating lift. The car didn’t have any front downforce and was pushing bad. We're probably going to cut the nose off, put a new nose on and get back out there." Gordon got back out on the track eventually and was scored 42nd in his final run at the Brickyard. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Clint Bowyer spins and Jeff Gordon crashes into the wall trying to avoid him at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Pittsboro, Indiana honored one of its favorite sons, Jeff Gordon , prior to this weekend's race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Pittsboro, Indiana welcomes emotional four-time NASCAR champion PHOTOS: Hometown honors Gordon with parade PITTSBORO, Ind. -- There's a sign on the Subway storefront proclaiming "Chicken Salad is Back" and the Cork & Cap package liquor establishment is nearby. Across the street, there's the Dollar General with the sign "You Make Us Proud Jeff " out front. Next door is the Pittsboro Veterinary Clinic and Big Tuck's Feed & More sits on the corner of Main and Maple Streets. A single traffic light is all that's required in this tiny town of 3,000 residents. A helicopter buzzes overhead as hundreds of folks crane their necks, looking down the street. It's high noon and the parade has begun. Jeff Gordon , five times a winner of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and a four-time NASCAR champion, is being honored here. The town's most popular son, by way of California, has come home. RELATED: Photos, recaps of Gordon's 21 Brickyard 400s The Hendrick Motorsports driver is winding up an incredible career in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, and this weekend's Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, IMS, SiriusXM) will be his last at the legendary facility as a driver. His 92 career wins is most among active drivers and third on NASCAR's all-time win list. At season's end, he'll be Jeff Gordon the racer no more. The procession slowly makes its way down Main Street, led by a Pittsboro Police Department cruiser. Members of the Tri-West Marching Band are close behind, with a Boy Scout troop, members representing American Legion Post 426, various dignitaries, Little League players, soccer players (state finalists, the banner proclaims), representatives from IMS and state officials parade past the crowd. Eventually, the white Chevrolet convertible eases down the street, with Gordon seated in back, smiling and waving to the crowd. Less than 20 minutes after it starts, the parade ends. But Jeff Gordon Day in Pittsboro is only beginning. • • • Fans are seen carrying die-casts, pieces of sheet metal and one even has a racing tire in tow. Most here at Scamahorn Park have their attention turned to the stage, where various dignitaries are speaking on behalf of Gordon . It's Jeff Gordon Day "not just here in Pittsboro," Indiana Gov. Mike Pence tells the crowd, "but ... I declare (it) in all 92 counties." Pence presents Gordon with the Sagamore of the Wabash award, the highest honorary award given by the state. There were proclamations, plaques and a badge -- Gordon is now an honorary member of the Pittsboro Police Dept. -- as well. "My parents had a lot of reasons why we came here," Gordon told the crowd, "but racing was a big, big part of it; maybe the primary reason. "But they found this nice home ... in Pittsboro. They wanted to be here. They found that home, and we lived there for a very long time and just loved being here in Indiana. I've got some of my best friends that I've ever had in life that I still stay in touch with that are still living here in Pittsboro or right around here." Gordon was honored. He was also emotional. "This to me today has been one of the best days of my life," he said as the crowd cheered. "I say that sincerely ... because I get to see what Pittsboro not only meant to me but what it means to you guys. And it's an awesome town and the way you guys came out and supported me and what I've done in racing, what the Brickyard has meant to me and what this town has meant to me ... thank you guys, this means the world to me, it really does." • • • They could have lived anywhere. In fact, Pittsboro wasn't the first stop for Gordon and his parents, John and Carol Bickford, when the family looked to move from Vallejo, California. "In 1985 when we came back to race (in the Midwest), we lived in Findlay, Ohio," John Bickford said. "We knew a guy in quarter midget racing that lived in Findlay ... He said, 'Hey you can work out of my shop if you want, I've got an apartment here with two rooms I don't use, you can stay in here this summer.' So we lived in Findlay, Ohio for the summer of '85." But Findlay proved too problematic. It wasn't centrally located, it wasn't close to those that built Gordon's sprint cars and it wasn't close to the tracks where he competed each weekend. If one were to draw a line at a 45-degree angle or so, beginning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the line heading northwest would go through Brownsburg, Pittsboro, Lizton (where Gordon attended Tri-West High School) and eventually Jamestown. Pittsboro was perfect. "It was close to the car manufacturers, close to the people we know, close to the school he's got to go to," Bickford said. "We've got a piece of property that's five acres so we can build a shop with no restrictions. ... So all the boxes were checked." It made perfect sense to Gordon , who said he was "100 percent all in" for the move. His racing career "really only became a serious reality because of Lee Osborne out in Jamestown who built our first sprint car," Gordon said. "And also the Stanley family that lived out in Brownsburg and used to build my quarter midgets, that are now building my kids' quarter midgets. "Those two families really were responsible for us first coming to Indiana and recognizing that we needed to be here if we wanted to take racing seriously." • • • Northwest of the famed speedway, out past Clermont and Brownsburg, the cornstalks are tall and green. Just down County Road 100, the brick ranch sits back off the highway. "It picks up quite a bit when the race is in town," Michael Lang says. Folks stop by, unannounced and uninvited, but Lang says he's used to it. Jeff Gordon grew up here. Raced out of here. Laid the foundation for his legacy here. The race shop out back is now home of Fluid Transfer Products, a company that Lang says "builds hoses and fittings" and similar products. He and his wife, Sherry, have been the owners of home and business here since 2000. Before that, Lang raced. He won seven consecutive Midget titles at Indianapolis Speedrome. He raced with and against Gordon , Tony Stewart and a host of others. "Just about anybody that's been down there and tried to run, maybe not in the last 10 years, but a little longer, I raced against them. Raced against them all," Lang says. Eventually, his car owner began to scale back and Lang "took a year and a half off. "I came back, ran an indoor show, won the race and then got bit (by the racing bug) again. But then we had some problems and I thought 'this is exactly why I got out before.' "I had young kids at the time, had just moved in here. I had a good run, won 76 midget races and had a lot of fun. I had ambitions just like anyone, but unfortunately didn't have the money." He had already decided to move away from the city -- he previously lived near the speedway -- when "I picked the USAC newsletter up one day," he says. "And there was an ad for this place." • • • "You have no idea how deep here it goes for us," Gordon says. "We're very proud to call Pittsboro our home. "I tell everybody it really started here in Pittsboro and I would never be where I am today if it weren't for Pittsboro, this town and what it meant to me." The two-lane road leads past the fields of corn and across the railroad tracks. Up ahead, the highway sign indicates the end of Mitchell Avenue and the start of Wall Street. A turn, out of Pittsboro, leads back to the Interstate. The name of the road is fitting -- Jeff Gordon Boulevard. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
In 2004 Jeff Gordon claimed his fourth Brickyard 400 victory by holding off Dale Jarrett at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Former New Hampshire winners absorb damage in collision RELATED: Previewing Sunday's race MORE: See all 43 cars at New Hampshire " Complete starting lineup LOUDON, N.H. -- Clint Bowyer called it the "damnedest thing I've ever seen." Jeff Gordon didn't disagree. Bowyer ran into the four-time Sprint Cup Series champion's No. 24 Chevrolet as Gordon was backing out of his own garage stall here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday morning. Bowyer's Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota sustained only minor damage to the front end and was eventually able to return to the track. Gordon's car, meanwhile, required significant repairs to the right-rear quarter panel. The repairs were not completed by the end of the session. "The whole weekend hasn't gone very well so far," Gordon said after wrapping up final practice for Sunday's 5-hour ENERGY 301 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM). Gordon will start 23rd. He hasn't started outside the top 20 in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race here at the 1.058-mile track since 2005. Bowyer will start 18th. "There are so many people in here," Bowyer said. "Hell, I glanced up ... all that (equipment) was there; that guy backing him out, I think he glanced up for a second but when I got there he wasn't even looking. "There's just so much going on (in the garage). It's a wonder that stuff doesn't happen more often." RELATED: See where Gordon , Bowyer are on the Chase Grid Gordon was able to return for the final practice and finished 22nd-fastest in a session cut approximately 12 minutes short due to rain. A pit cart, used to ferry equipment from the team's transporter to the garage stall, blocked the view of Gordon's car as it rolled out of its stall. WATCH: Gordon , Bowyer get heated in Phoenix in 2012 "The guy that backs me out looked over, I guess he was just starting to back me out ... I crept out there and he cleared me, but the No. 15 (Bowyer), probably couldn't really see me because of that pit cart," Gordon said. "I don't know if he kind of glanced away or what, but when he looked back, I was just right there and couldn't go anywhere. It's kind of a combination of, I guess, both of us could take fault in that." "I love seeing my crew chief (Alan Gustafson) get in there and get dirty, but not for that reason. And, that practice went a little bit better than the other one. So, we're gaining on it.” MORE: Breaking down the New Hampshire contenders Gordon , 43, is in his final season with Hendrick Motorsports and will embark on a NASCAR broadcasting career with FOX Sports next season. His 92 career wins is most among active drivers and No. 3 on NASCAR's all-time win list, trailing only Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105). He is a three-time winner at NHMS. "I don't want to say it can't get worse, but I know it can," Gordon said of the mishap. "So, I'm not going to say that. But hopefully this will all pay off for us tomorrow." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
No. 24 driver has won at every other Sprint Cup track RELATED: Full race lineup " Complete Kentucky preview SPARTA, Ky. -- Jeff Gordon has recorded 92 wins in his storied NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career and has celebrated in Victory Lane at every track -- except one. Kentucky Speedway. "It wouldn't mean so much to me if I hadn't won on all the other ones," Gordon said with a smile on Friday after NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Kentucky. "It's the newest track that has been added on the schedule, so we haven't been able to come here for a long time. It would just mean a lot to win it." Sunday's Quaker State 400 (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, Sirius XM) is Gordon's final chance to seal the deal at the asphalt oval before his retirement at the end of the 2015 season. In four starts at Kentucky, the No. 24 Chevrolet has put on strong performances, pulling off four top-10 finishes. But for Gordon , close just isn't good enough in his final Kentucky foray. "It's not if we don't win that I'm going to be super disappointed," Gordon said. "I'm going to be disappointed if we finish second. To come that close, yeah, that would be a little disappointing as far as the stats go. But I would like to have a good, strong finish here and just have a shot at it." For the No. 24 team, making it to the front will be its biggest battle. Despite Gordon's solid finishes, he's yet to lead a lap around the 1.5-mile track. The zero in his "Laps Led" column puzzles the Hendrick Motorsports driver, as he has paced the field at every track for at least 182 laps, his best track being Martinsville with an impressive 3,744 laps led. "This is just a tough race track," Gordon said. "I'm not really sure. I feel like we have always run well toward the end of the race, but maybe didn't always start off as strong. Maybe it's a qualifying thing, too. We just haven't qualified up front. "Hopefully, that changes this weekend." Gordon's third-place starting position, set by opening practice times due to inclement weather, could give him the leverage he needs to make a strong run to the front. And while growing pains may come with the new rules package debuting this weekend -- which Gordon reserves most opinions about until he runs a little more -- bumpy Kentucky already causes Gordon physical pain. Perhaps it's a good pain -- it takes him back to the early days. "When I think of this track, I just think of how challenging it is and how rough it is, how much my back hurts and how much I'd like to win here because we never have," Gordon said. "I love that fact that when we came here, especially the first time, the way that racing is supported in this part of the country. "It reminded me of Indiana. I used to race in Evansville -- not to far from here -- I raced sprint cars, and it just didn't surprise me how when we come here, there's a lot of huge race fans, not just NASCAR fans, but just huge race fans, that want to see a great race and came out to support us here." That's just what Gordon will look to do on Sunday, as he climbs into his No. 24 for the last time at Kentucky: Give fans a great race. No matter the outcome, to Gordon's longtime fans, he'll always be celebrated. "When I heard the crowd applaud on race day (at Sonoma) for driver introductions, it really hit me and stuck with me, and it was cool," Gordon said. "The cheers and the support have been overwhelming everywhere we've gone. "Other than that, the only place that I think it's really going to hit me like, 'Wow, this is really happening,' is (his final race) in Homestead." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Denny Hamlin explains what Jeff Gordon has meant to NASCAR and how he looks forward to Jeff being around outside the car.
Kurt Busch shares his thoughts on Jeff Gordon being at the top of his game and explains how it will feel to race Gordon one last time in 2015.
Tony Stewart attempts to think of a day where he will not race against Jeff Gordon , comparing it to the feeling of being at the track without Dale Earnhardt Sr.