Gordon disqualified from Dakar Rally in Stage 4
CALAMA, Chile -- Robby Gordon will be leaving Chile and the Dakar Rally much earlier than expected. Trying to recover from mechanical issues after Stage 2, Gordon's Hummer was hit with more problems during Wednesday's Stage 4 and he was disqualified, according to speedenergy.com. Speed Energy was Gordon's sponsor for the Dakar Rally. Gordon began the day 17th but had right-front wheel bearing issues before the start of the timed special, costing him about five hours. He completed the stage, but because he was late to the special, he was disqualified from the rally. Gordon was one of six cars to withdraw Wednesday. "Disappointed doesn't even begin to describe the way I'm feeling right now, not only for me but for everyone involved," Gordon said. "Knowing all the hard work and dedication that was put into this program is what makes our untimely exit from the Dakar Rally a hard pill to swallow. "While it may not appear like it due to our performance thus far, countless hours went into this effort. To have a wheel bearing fail is just sickening ... a huge, huge disappointment. We run this same wheel bearing on the trophy truck and have put thousands of kilometers on HUMMERs, and we have never had this part fail." STAGE 3 SAN SALVADOR DE JUJUY, Argentina -- Attempting to overcome a poor finish in Stage 2 due to mechanical issues, the No. 303 HUMMER was back on unfamiliar terrain. In the 2010 edition of the Dakar Rally, Stage 3 took the competitors from La Rioja to Fiambala, however, this year the route has moved further east as they make their way to Chile. Beginning the day in San Miguel de Tucuman, this special stage was been split into two parts, totaling 165 miles. Starting the day in 21st position overall, Robby Gordon and navigator, Kellon Walch finished the stage in 15th, putting the team 17th overall, 1 hour 32 minutes behind leader Carlos Sainz. Even as Gordon improved his position in the rally, he was not pleased with the performance of the HUMMER. "We keep putting ourselves behind the eight ball. We passed a bunch of cars early in the special, but then realized we had lost a transmission pump", Gordon said. "[Tuesday's] special would have been good for the HUMMER had we not had a mechanical issue. The route had some very technical, rough stuff in the beginning, and it would have been good for us." STAGE 2 SAN MIGUEL DE TUCUMAN, Argentina -- Robby Gordon struggled in the second stage of the Dakar Rally on Monday, finishing 46th after an accident and dropping to 21st overall in the standings. Carlos Sainz, the defending champion, won his second stage in as many days in his Volkswagen. His lead is 3:05 ahead of Stephane Peterhansel's BMW and 1:06:55 in front of Gordon in his Hummer. Gordon's accident occurred after a solid start and cost him an hour's worth of repairs. "We were actually pretty good through the first few check points," Gordon said. "One corner snuck up on me; I didn't see it and just drove off the road, hitting a large rock. This is very unfortunate for our team. Now that we are an hour behind heading into Chile versus only a few minutes, we definitely got our work cut out for us. I think we will be OK though; there is still plenty of racing left. "The Hummer sustained some damage on today's stage as when we smashed the front of the race vehicle into the rock, and the transmission doesn't have reverse because it broke when I tried to reverse out of my mistake. I would say that we were broke down for maybe an hour today...a very costly hour." Dakar is being held for the third consecutive year in Argentina and Chile. This year's route covers 5,903 miles, reaching the Atacama desert in northern Chile -- one of the driest places on earth -- before heading back for the Jan. 16 finish in Buenos Aires. The race heads north on Tuesday to San Salvador de Jujuy in Argentina and crosses into Chile on Wednesday, heading for the Atacama desert. STAGE 1 CORDOBA, Argentina -- Robby Gordon and Team Hummer completed the first stage of the Dakar Rally on Sunday in eighth place, covering the 138-mile course in 2 hours, 29 minutes, 36 seconds. Gordon and navigator Kellon Walch trail defending champion Carlos Sainz by 11:04. Sainz's Volkswagen was 1:31 ahead of second-place Stephane Peterhansel in a BMW and 2:16 in front of Volkswagen teammate Nasser Al Attiyah. American driver Mark Miller was fourth, 4:17 behind in another Volkswagen. Gordon started fourth but dropped to ninth by the first marker as heavy rain created a slippery disadvantage as participants suffered from skidding and sliding. "We knew that the Hummer team would not be as strong as we would like in the Argentina portion of this race, but we struggled a little bit more [Sunday] than I would have liked due to the weather conditions and technical rally-style section," said Gordon , who offered a reason for the discrepancy in time in correlation to the leaders. "Sainz and Peterhansel ... started the race before the weather began and were virtually unaffected by it. That's why you see the gap in time from the rest of the competitors. "We started out the special good, but we had a couple of challenges along the way. Kellon and I had to change helmets during the middle of the stage because his microphone quit working. I ran off the road at one point. We also ran out of windshield wiper fluid due to the mud. These mistakes probably cost us about 1 minute of total speed. I expected to give up 5 minutes in [Sunday's] stage, not 11 minutes, which disappoints me. "It is still early in the race, but we have some ground to make up [Monday]. Some of the guys are already starting to have issues this early. Hopefully, we will recover quickly from [Sunday's] issues before we enter Chile because it is our best opportunity to make up time. By this point, I want to be less than 10 minutes behind." Sunday's first stage from Victoria to Corboda in northern Argentina followed the ceremonial ride from Buenos Aires to Victoria a day earler. Officials said 407 contestants started the race Sunday, down from the 430 who were enrolled Saturday. Dakar is being held for the third consecutive year in Argentina and Chile. This year's route covers 5,903 miles, reaching the Atacama desert in northern Chile -- one of the driest places on earth -- before heading back for the Jan. 16 finish in Buenos Aires. Monday's second stage from Cordoba to San Miguel de Tucuman is a 201-mile race through the mountains. "[Monday's] stage is supposed to go through the mountains, which are not good for us for two reasons. First, the Hummers are not turbo-charged, then the course is a little narrow. They did say that we should encounter some bumps, which could be good for us," Gordon said. Gordon's second team, with Chilean driver Eliseo Salazar and navigator Steve La Roza, is in 28th place after the opening stage, 34:25 off the pace. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Gordon's love for Charlotte lasting, 22 years after first win
Photo credit: Charlotte Motor Speedway CONCORD, N.C. – With its close proximity to race shops, Charlotte Motor Speedway is known as the home track for most of the NASCAR community. But Tuesday's gathering at the 1.5-mile speedway had more of a tourist feel, as fans hailed from places near and far. There was the man from Bakersfield, California, – "Harvick country," he states proudly – the fan from Switzerland, the Canadian couple and everyone in between. They wore different numbers on their shirts and spoke with different accents, but they were all there to see one man. Mr. Jeff Gordon . The FOX Sports analyst and four-time NASCAR champion helped celebrate the 10 Days of NASCAR Thunder leading up to Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) by taking photos with 100 Charlotte ticketholders. Despite Gordon's retirement following his championship run last season, the fandom was as feverous as ever, as each visitor itched to exchange a few words with the former No. 24 driver. "It's slightly different (now) because many of them say a lot of the same things, 'I wish you were out there,' (or) 'I miss you being out there,'" Gordon said of the fans. "But I'm getting a lot of great comments about being up in the booth, so it's nice. I'm enjoying myself, so I think it comes across in the broadcast and interacting with the fans, I get to hear that from them as well." Gordon and the fans stood on the roof of the infield's Champion's Pavilion, the spot providing the group a birds-eye view of the quad oval. The track is impressive; a feeling Gordon reciprocates, as he recalls the first time he laid eyes on it. "I think it doesn't mean the same to everybody," Gordon said, "but for me, the very first time I ever came to North Carolina … when I drove by this facility, I was blown away. I'd seen Indianapolis Motor Speedway , but beyond that, I'd never seen anything that looked like this. Just the appearance of it put me in awe." Gordon found success at Charlotte early in his career, earning a runner-up result in his first race at the North Carolina track in 1993. And on Sunday, he'll broadcast his first Coca-Cola 600 ; 22 years after he earned his first-ever win in the Cup Series in the '94 running of the 600-mile event. The win put Gordon on the racing map and made folks wonder about this young "kid" from California who was driving nose-to-nose with Dale Earnhardt. RELATED: See all the winners of the longest race in NASCAR But Gordon's love affair with Charlotte began before the Victory Lane celebration. "When I drove a stock car here for the first time, I just fell in love with it," Gordon said. "I love the way the track flows, the banking, the grip level, bumps and everything that comes along with it. And of course, winning my first race, having it happen in the 600." The longest race on the Cup circuit, the Coca-Cola 600 has long been revered as one of NASCAR's biggest races – one of the sport's "Majors," as Gordon says. "Daytona, here, Brickyard, maybe a Southern 500, some would also say Talladega." Gordon said, rattling off a list of stock car racing's biggest events. "But this is a big, big deal to win this race. To me, it's probably second or third ranking in our series as far as most prestigious events." Winning the coveted Coca-Cola 600 trophy is no easy feat – the man who has won three of those races can tell you that. With the cars being more advanced today and eliminating some of the physical aspect, Gordon emphasizes the continued need for mental toughness. "You're talking about a minimum of four hours being in the car," Gordon said. "Pit crews, crew chiefs, everyone's on edge, not just the drivers … (They're) pushing the limits every single lap, which is not the way it used to be. You used to pace yourself and be able to manage the tires and your car and you could still be competitive at the end of the day – if you were in one piece. "That's not the case anymore – it's just all out. So, that mentally drains you by pushing that hard for that period of time." RELATED: Gordon embraces new career with 'contagious' energy The task of taming a 600-mile monster is daunting, especially for younger drivers. Gordon's No. 24 replacement Chase Elliott will attempt the feat, as he prepares to make his second Coca-Cola 600 start. Elliott, now in his rookie season, started 28th and finished 18th in the 2015 Coca-Cola 600 , then driving the No. 25 for Hendrick Motorsports . As for any advice from the former boss of the No. 24? Gordon said his 20-year-old successor doesn't need it. "I haven't had to give him much advice on the race track," Gordon said. "He's a natural … He gets better every weekend. "I'm excited for that 24 team. I had to defend a lot with fans being upset about them keeping the No. 24 and I said, 'Just wait, just wait, I think you're going to be proud of the results.' And now, I'm starting to see everybody's now saying, 'What a great replacement for the 24!' " Gordon's statement was validated by fans sporting Elliott-themed shirts earlier, one young boy in particular wearing a blue No. 24 NAPA hat. This fan will likely grow up knowing Elliott -- rather than Gordon -- as the driver of the legendary No. 24 Chevrolet. It's a mark of a racing transition, a generational shift. And Gordon loves it. "Listen, I love seeing the sport grow," he said. "I'm still heavily involved in the sport, not just from the FOX side, but from Hendrick Motorsports . And I think the sport is amazing right now. The racing is as good as it's ever been. We have some great young talents. Not to mention veterans that are doing great things … I'm all for bringing new fans and seeing fans get excited about it, people like Chase or Ryan Blaney or Kyle Larson . "I support it 100 percent."
Jeff Gordon's career coming to a glorious close
MORE: Sunday's full lineup RELATED: Gordon's top 24 NASCAR moments " Full Gordon coverage HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Busy week, surrounded by a lot of friends and family, a legendary figure making the final start of his career with a shot at going out as a five-time champion. Racer. Philanthropist. Father. What's there to say about Jeff Gordon that hasn't been said? What's there to write that hasn't been written? Do a Google search for " Jeff Gordon " and the search engine generates approximately 79 million results. Tom Brady? 83.1 million. Kobe Bryant? 34.6 million. Derek Jeter? 14 million. Gordon , 44, is one of those rare athletes who have transcended their individual sport. A champion on the track? Without question. Off the track? Certainly. Television and tabloids flock to him. He purchased a second residence in New York City in part to escape the spotlight and to navigate life in between races unimpeded by the fame that followed him elsewhere. Maybe he would not carry the same clout or create the same buzz had he chosen another profession. Then again, perhaps his impact would have been even greater elsewhere. A precocious, driven youngster whose family packed up moved east from California in order to continue his development as a racer. A NASCAR premier series champion at 24. And 26. And 27. And 30. Now, at 44, is there one more title in the tank? What's there to say that hasn't been said, write that hasn't been written? WATCH: Gordon's first Homestead win The Alpha and Omega NASCAR didn't begin with Gordon , and it certainly won't end when the Hendrick Motorsports driver climbs from his No. 24 Chevrolet for the final time on Sunday evening. "Everybody's career comes to an end," Richard Petty said. "He's going out strong. I admire him for that part of it. "I wouldn't mind seeing him win the championship because he's meant so much to NASCAR over the years. They're going to miss him a whole lot from that standpoint." There is no one in the sport more qualified to speak on such matters than the man known simply as "The King." Now 78, Petty set the standard for champions on the track as well as how to conduct oneself outside the car. Icon, inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame member, winner of 200 races and seven championships, Petty is NASCAR. The Petty family is NASCAR. Petty's father, Lee, won three titles, 54 races and was in the very first sanctioned race. He, too, is a member of the Hall of Fame. The careers of Richard Petty and Gordon are inextricably linked by a single date – Nov. 15, 1992. Petty made his 1,184th and final start in NASCAR's premier series. Gordon made his very first in the same event. Petty met privately with Gordon this weekend at Homestead to present him with one of his signature Charlie 1 Horse cowboy hats. It was a gesture of appreciation and acknowledgement of everything Gordon has accomplished. But Petty understands better than most that the sport will move forward, just as it did when he stepped out of the car that sunny day in Atlanta. "No matter who you are, you're not strong enough to carry the whole load," Petty said. "He's been a strong leader all these years, but over a period of time, the next crowd comes along and kind of fades them all out. Over a period of time, you go away whether you want to or not." RELATED: Best No. 24 paint schemes Auspicious beginning Gordon won the series' Rookie of the Year title in 1993, competing for the honor against Bobby Labonte , Kenny Wallace and P.J. Jones. Two years later, he won his first championship. It was the era of Dale Earnhardt, the six-time champion chasing Petty's mark of seven titles while blazing new trails. He was "The Intimidator." He was NASCAR. Petty, Earnhardt and then there was Gordon . No one else was as dominant -- between 1995 and '99, Gordon won 47 races. He won Daytona. He won Indy. He won the Winston Million. Had he not come along? "Someone else would have taken that spot," Mike Helton, NASCAR Vice Chairman, said. "I don't know that anybody could have filled it, though. "There's a difference. It's like if the Atlantic Ocean went dry, somebody could figure out how to get water in it, but could they fill that whole ocean? "I think we were very fortunate for Jeff to appear when he did and do what he did along the way to keep our momentum going. It certainly added to the momentum that we had going in that era. We needed a Jeff Gordon and he arose. He came into the sport ... he could have chosen open-wheel racing ... and he would have been massively successful." Why was it Gordon ? Why not someone else who stepped up and helped carry the sport forward, who resonated with fans and sponsors? Helton doesn't know. "I know growing up there was a reason I became a big fan of John Wayne. And there were a lot of cowboys on television," he said. "I just think that speaks to Jeff's inclusiveness, and his capabilities extended beyond just being a very successful athlete as a race car driver." There have been issues from time to time, but nothing major, according to Helton, who added, "Of course we've had conversations in which he'd had to write checks afterward." Earnhardt's death in 2001, in the season-opening Daytona 500 , turned the sport upside down. Gordon was one of the few who could help stabilize it in an uncertain time. "I think the whole industry looked at Jeff to take Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s place when we lost Dale," said Helton. "The garage area needed a voice like we've had historically, whether it was Richard Petty or Darrell Waltrip, Dale Sr. ... He got pressure from the industry inside the garage to be that voice. "When that came, along with the championships that preceded that, he understood the need for a league or sanctioning body in order for the athlete to be successful. But he also had a good soapbox to stand on saying 'Look, we need our voice to be heard too.' And I think the respect worked both ways." RELATED: NASCAR Nation honors Gordon with #24ever 'Iron Man' of NASCAR Consecutive starts: 796. It's one more impressive record in Jeff Gordon 's body of work. He's never missed a start, and passed Ricky Rudd for the consecutive starts record earlier this year. Now, only one remains, one final attempt, one final opportunity. Because of the format for NASCAR's championship-determining Chase, Gordon doesn't have to win Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 . He has to finish ahead of only three challengers -- Kevin Harvick ( Stewart-Haas Racing ), Kyle Busch ( Joe Gibbs Racing ) and Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing ) to capture the title. He'll go out a winner regardless of where he finishes. Whether or not he goes out a champion has yet to be determined. Capturing the inaugural Brickyard 400 in '94 has always stood out as his most memorable moment. Until a recent Martinsville victory put him in the Championship 4 here at Homestead-Miami Speedway . The '98 season when he won 13 races, the fourth title in '01 with crew chief Robby Loomis after the departure of mentor Ray Evernham and the '95 crown that was won when he "was going against Earnhardt; that was huge," Gordon said earlier this week. The finality of the moment, though, carries much weight. "My final year, my final race, (wife) Ingrid and the kids," Gordon said. "Kids motivate you in a whole new way, and no matter what we're going to go out and be happy and celebrate. "But to do it as a champion, oh, my gosh, I just can't imagine anything that would be more emotional and more exciting and more gratifying than to look at my wife in the eyes and see that reaction from her when that race is over if we win it." MORE: Drivers offer favorite Gordon memories
New Hampshire Motor Speedway: 25 Years, 25 Moments
Buy Tickets - SYLVANIA 300 New Hampshire Motor Speedway 's September event weekend will mark the facility's 25th Anniversary. Relive some of the top moments over the past 25 years. From Rusty Wallace capturing the inagural NASCAR Sprint Cup race win to Cole Custer becoming the youngest driver to visit Victory Lane in a National Series event - check out the top 25 moments below. 1. August 13, 1989: Groundbreaking for New Hampshire International Speedway (formerly Bryar Motorsports Park). 2. June 5, 1990: Track owner Bob Bahre and N.H. Governor Judd Gregg cut the ribbon to officially open “New Hampshire International Speedway.” 3. July 15, 1990: In NASCAR's debut at NHMS, Tommy Ellis wins the Grand National Series ( XFINITY ) race. 4. August 23, 1992: Joe Nemechek and Dale Earnhardt (Sr.) bump each other on the way to the finish line with Nemechek taking home the win. 5. July 11, 1993: Rusty Wallace wins the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at NHMS. 6. July 9, 1995: Jeff Gordon earns his first win at NHMS en route to his first Cup Series championship. 7. July 14, 1996: Ernie Irvan captures the win in one of the more emotional victories in NASCAR history. The win came less than two years after Irvan suffered a near-fatal crash at Michigan, where he was given less than a 10 percent chance of survival. 8. June 28, 1998: In his final season as an IndyCar driver, Tony Stewart wins the IRL New England 200, his final career win in the series. 9. Sept. 17, 2000: Jeff Burton leads all 300 laps of the Dura Lube 300 to earn his record-setting fourth Cup Series win at NHMS. The race is infamously remembered for its use of restrictor plates. 10. Nov. 23, 2001: The New Hampshire 300 runs as the last race of the season on Friday after Thanksgiving. Robby Gordon wins the race and Jeff Gordon holds the Sprint Cup Series trophy for the fourth time. 11. Sept. 19, 2004: The Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship debuts with its opening race, the SYLVANIA 300. Kurt Busch wins the race and goes on to become crowned Champion. 12. Sept. 18, 2005: Robby Gordon chucks his helmet at Michael Waltrip after a wreck on the backstretch. 13. June 28, 2008: Chuck Hossfeld edges Ted Christopher by 0.001 seconds in the Whelen Modified Tour’s New England 100, the closest margin of victory in speedway history. 14. June 28, 2009: Joey Logano becomes the youngest winner in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history at 19 years, 35 days. 15. Sept. 20, 2009: Fifty-year-old Mark Martin takes the lead in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship with the 40th and final win of his illustrious career. It was his first and only win at NHMS. 16. June 26, 2010: Kyle Busch ends a streak of 23 straight different winners at NHMS in the XFINITY Series by becoming the first two-time series winner in the track's history. He also won the '09 race and followed up with wins in '11 and '13. 17. July 16, 2011: Kyle Busch earns his 100th NASCAR National Series win and ties Mark Martin ’s record for most XFINITY Series wins with 49. 18. Sept. 25, 2011: Tony Stewart assumes his only lead in the SYLVANIA 300 with two to go when Clint Bowyer runs out of gas. The win was Stewart’s second in as many Chase races and propelled him to the championship. 19. July 14, 2012: NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Mike Stefanik beats Ron Silk in the Whelen Modified Tour Town Fair Tire 100 by 0.003 seconds. 20. Sept. 23, 2012: Denny Hamlin follows through on his guarantee to win, and celebrates with military personnel in victory lane. 21. July 11, 2013: Toomas Topi Heikkinen wins the SYVLANIA SilverStar zXe Global RallyCross race when leader Tanner Foust crashes on the final hairpin turn. 22. July 14, 2013: Part-time driver Brian Vickers wins the Camping World RV Sales 301, his first win since battling back from blood clots in his legs and lungs that threatened his life. 23. July 11, 2014: Ryan Newman wins the inaugural Modified All-Star Shootout event, a combination race between the best of the Whelen Modified Tour and Whelen Southern Modified Tour. 24. July 13, 2014: Brad Keselowski ties a NASCAR record by becoming the 13th different non-repeat winner at the same track in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. 25. Sept. 20, 2014: At 16 years, seven months and 28 days, Cole Custer wins the NASCAR Camping World Truck s Series UNOH 175 to become the youngest winner of a NASCAR National Series race.
Emotions of final season starting to set in for 'Smoke'
Jeff Gordon talks with Tony Stewart over the radio during the Coca-Cola 600 pace laps about this being Stewart's final 600-mile endurance test in his career.
Jeff Gordon to drive pace car at Indy 500
Driver will compete in Coca-Cola 600 on same day
Herman Unplugged: Was Kevin's punch at Jimmie warranted?
Debating the Johnson-Harvick incident, who will win the Chase RELATED: Subscribe to NASCAR Illustrated " Harvick shoves Johnson post-race After a rollicking start to the Chase at Chicagoland Speedway , we move on to the tighter confines of New Hampshire with the possibility of more confrontation. With visions of Robby Gordon and Michael Waltrip coming to mind -- helmet toss, anyone? -- intensity always seems to amp up when the races left start to dwindle. Was Kevin Harvick right, was Jimmie Johnson wrong? Can’t we all just get along? We roll along now into this week’s installment of Herman Unplugged: NASCAR ILLUSTRATED: You were dead-on a few weeks back here in predicting Kevin Harvick 's mental and physical tactics coming into play once the Chase started. Was his punch warranted after the incident with Jimmie Johnson though? HERMAN: "No, and it made me sick to my stomach. I know that these two are somewhat friends, they both have children and both are champions. I know for a fact and in my heart that Jimmie didn't say, 'Hey, I’m gonna flatten your tire.' I thought Jimmie was trying to make it right. He felt his relationship with Kevin was strong enough and he was going to address the issue. Props to the NBC camera people because we wouldn't have seen all this otherwise. What made me sick was you could tell how shocked Jimmie Johnson was and the way that Kevin reacted. I hated it for both of them." NI: Do you think it was done for the purpose of intimidation or gamesmanship? HERMAN: "No, because everybody in the garage area knows that Jimmie is involved in sports therapy and he's got a Green Beret type mentality. You're never gonna get Jimmie; that's why you just can’t get to him. I guarantee you that Jimmie has already psychologically figured out how to get over it, whether from the sports therapist or in some of the lessons that he learned. I think that was a natural reaction from Kevin Harvick . It could be a meeting of the psychological minds because Kevin's into therapy, too. In professional modern day sports, it’s in your best interest to pay a handful of thousands of dollars a year to talk to a sports therapist. They teach you how to focus, be positive and ignore social networking. All of us are a little fragile or we're a little too strong." NI: The after effect of these incidents especially in the Chase is this provides a wonderful promotional tool and NASCAR will want to make the most of it. It's like wrecks, too. Are you OK with that promotional aspect of things? HERMAN: "Yes I am and let me tell you why. We are in a new era in life. You cannot believe the ratings for this UFC fighting. People love cage fighting. It's a little crazy to think but people like death and destruction whether they admit it or not. I was just at Berlin Raceway in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the promoter Don DeWitt told me that one of his biggest moneymakers was cage fighting on the front straightaway. We have to do something to reinvent ourselves. The foundation of NASCAR is something of an old template. A car going around in circles is very boring for the human right now. So they're going to tune in to see a fight or a wreck. They are not gonna tune in, and it's sad to say, people don't tune in anymore to watch cars go in circles. They tune in to watch cars battle, bump, fight and wreck." NI: One race into the Chase and you can have Joe Gibbs Racing or the field as this year's champion. Who are you going with and why? HERMAN: "I'm gonna go with Joe Gibbs Racing because it seems to me that whatever they have it's not shaken, it's not going away. If I'm in a fight and I have a gun, I want as many bullets as I can get. And they got four -- and all four of them are capable. Some people are taking all four Gibbs cars -- Johnny Roberts, my comrade at FOX Sports, he's not an idiot, he took all four to be in the final round at Homestead." SUBSCRIBE NOW!
NMPA tabs Donlavey for third quarter Spirit Award
Longtime car owner joins Lynda Petty, Martin Truex Jr. as quarterly honorees RELATED: Images of Junie Donlavey's life in NASCAR Longtime car owner Junie Donlavey was named the National Motorsports Press Association Spirit Award recipient for the third quarter of 2014. Donlavey, who passed away in June at the age of 90, competed at NASCAR's highest level from 1950 through 2002. The native of Richmond, Virginia, gave numerous drivers their start in NASCAR's premier series, now known as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series . That list included two-time champ Joe Weatherly, Jimmy Hensley, Harry Gant and Robby Gordon . Donlavey also aided the careers of drivers such as Ken Schrader and Dick Trickle. Teams owned by Donlavey made 863 starts, and nine of those teams finished in the top 10 in points in the season standings. His lone win as an owner came in 1981 at Dover International Speedway with driver Jody Ridley. Donlavey was inducted into the NMPA Hall of Fame in 2009, and in September, the garage area at Richmond International Raceway was named in his honor . Also receiving votes for the third quarter were Sprint Cup Series drivers Kasey Kahne , Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart and Kyle Larson . Other quarterly winners of the Spirit Award for 2014 are Lynda Petty (first quarter) and Martin Truex Jr . (second quarter). The NMPA Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Each year, quarterly winners are chosen, and an overall winner is selected by a vote of the NMPA membership. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Gibbs updates Kyle Busch's injury status
Team owner lauds spirit of his driver, NASCAR community Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch is "resting comfortably" following surgery Saturday night at Halifax Medical Center, but how soon he returns to competition is unknown. "Kyle ... was kind of light-hearted and joking around with me and talking about wanting to get back in the car right away before surgery," said team owner Joe Gibbs. "(The doctor) said everything went very well. RELATED: See the updated Daytona 500 lineup "The major portion of what they did yesterday was his lower right leg ... they took care of that. They're going to wait on his (left) foot. ... They said there's no rush on that." Busch, 29, sustained a compound fracture of his lower right leg and a mid-foot fracture of his left foot in an accident on Lap 112 of the season-opening NASCAR XFINITY Series event, the Alert Today Florida 300. RELATED: Kyle Busch undergoes surgery on right leg His No. 54 Toyota was involved in a multi-car crash, slid across the track and struck the interior wall just beyond the exit of pit road on the frontstretch at Daytona International Speedway. After being treated at the scene, Busch was transported to Halifax. On Sunday afternoon, he tweeted for the first time since the wreck: Would rather b driving than watching the #Daytona500 but pulling 4 @Matt_Crafton and the No. 18 @mmschocolate team. — Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) February 22, 2015 Two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton will drive the No. 18 Toyota in today's season-opening Daytona 500. "Matt has driven some of Kyle's stuff," Gibbs said. "He's a veteran guy and we felt like it was the perfect fit. "As far as time or length, I don't have a good understanding of that with the doctors and everything -- I think we're just going to pray for him to bounce back." "I can tell you this, Kyle's already telling (wife Samantha), 'Hey, I just want to get back to racing.' He has a great spirit about things like that. "... I told him before surgery, 'Hey, I love you.' And that's the way we feel about it." Gibbs said no further surgeries dealing with Busch's right leg are anticipated and that the left foot injury can be dealt with at a later date. "As far as going back to Charlotte, we're on standby with the plane," he said. "Whenever he feels that he can travel, we'll get him back to Charlotte." Crafton, driver of the No. 88 ThorSport Toyota, will be making his first start in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series. He has driven Sprint Cup cars previously, qualifying for Robby Gordon in 2008 at Dover International Speedway as well as testing for JGR a year ago. Busch was slated to start today's race from the fourth spot, but because Crafton was not the driver of record during qualifying, he will be required to drop to the rear of the field. "We're going to ride in the back for a little bit, get comfortable with the car," Crafton said Sunday morning. "We've got 500 miles to figure it out. I'm sure for the first half of the race, we're going to ride, be smart and just see what I can learn." The area of the wall struck by Busch's car is not protected by the SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barrier, although much of the 2.5-mile track features the energy dissipating system. Saturday night, track president Joie Chitwood III said tire packs would be place along the wall as a safety measure for today's race, and that SAFER barrier would be installed "on every inch at this property" following the race. "This is not going to happen again," he said. "We're going to live up to our responsibility. We're going to fix this and it starts right now." Defending Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick said Sunday he had hit close to the same spot as Busch during last year's 500 "and kind of voiced my opinion." "Unfortunately I was just a dot on the chart and there was no reaction," the Stewart-Haas Racing driver said. "Hopefully this is a lesson learned. "We know what fixes these walls. ... That's why we wear a helmet. That's why we wear HANS. That's why we wear fire suits. That's why we have fire bottles. It's for that one moment that you have to protect yourself against." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Throwback Thursday: A Tale of Two Gordons
In this week's Throwback Thursday, we go back to New Hampshire in 2001. Jeff Gordon had already locked up the title, but Robby Gordon had other plans for the checkered flag that day.