Friday, 19 August 2022

NASCAR VIEW: Talk that Jeff Gordon ‘deserves’ to win Sprint Cup title in 2015 is arrogant

Posted On Tuesday, 10 February 2015 00:00 Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)
Jeff Gordon won the pole at Homestead-Miami Speedway last November, but wasn't in the running for the 2014 Sprint Cup title after being eliminated from the Chase. 2015 is his final year of full-time competition and he hopes to bring home a fifth Cup crown. Jeff Gordon won the pole at Homestead-Miami Speedway last November, but wasn't in the running for the 2014 Sprint Cup title after being eliminated from the Chase. 2015 is his final year of full-time competition and he hopes to bring home a fifth Cup crown. Photo courtesy of Chevy Racing

I get it.

 

Jeff Gordon is a great champion who has represented the sport of NASCAR well for two decades plus.


He was dominant in the late 1990s and into the early 2000s, has four Cup championship trophies as a result, and will desperately be seeking another one in his final full-time year competing for Rick Hendrick in 2015.

He may well win, as he showed in 2014 that he is still fully capable of competing for a championship. If not for some bad luck toward the end of the 2014 Chase, he may well have been there in the end to compete for the title at Homestead.

 

But all the talk I’m hearing lately of how Jeff Gordon ‘deserves’ to end his career as a champion is, quite frankly, disrespectful to all the other drivers out there on the track with Gordon each week.

Let’s do the math. There are 43 drivers on track each week. Realistically, unless the race is at Talladega and Daytona, about half of them have basically no shot to win outside of catching rain at the right time during pit stop cycles.

Of the 20 or so remaining drivers who can win races, about 10 to 15 of them are consistent enough to compete for a championship, especially in this new “reset the points every three races” version of the Chase.

Jeff Gordon is one of the drivers who has a good shot at the title.

So is Jimmie Johnson, and Kasey Kahne, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Carl Edwards, and Matt Kenseth, and Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Busch, and Tony Stewart (when healthy), and Kevin Harvick (defending champ), and Ryan Newman (who nearly stole the show last year in a miraculous way), and Brad Keselowski, and Joey Logano, and young phenom Kyle Larson.

I’d be out of breath if I read that whole sentence, which leads me to my main point: Nobody -- not Jeff Gordon, nor anyone else on that list, “deserves” to be the champion in 2015.


To say so, as Gordon’s crew chief Alan Gustafson has said (“He deserves to go out on top”)
is a level of arrogance that is not surprising coming from a Hendrick team that has become used to winning titles, and is on par with the thought process of an egotist at the level of Kanye West.

Alan Gustafson is a great crew chief, and Jeff Gordon is a great driver. Both will do very well this year at their jobs, no doubt, will probably win some races together and Gordon may just be there at Homestead battling for the title if the chips fall his way.

But to intimate that just because Jeff has a legendary career under his belt, he should somehow deserve a fifth title trophy in 2015 -- well, it’s insulting to the fans and Gordon’s competitors.

The best driver wins each year based on on-track performance.
Last year Kevin Harvick played his cards right and was crowned the champ. Any of the dozen-plus drivers I named above could do the same this year.

So while I have no illusions that Gordon is anything but a legendary driver who brought the sport to new masses of people, I also know he is a mere man, one of 43 people competing each week for the win and a shot at the Cup via making the Chase. To romanticize him this year just because he is retiring is already becoming old to me and the season hasn’t even started.

Even last fall, when Brad Keselowski’s bold moves at Texas ended up playing a part in Gordon being removed from Chase contention, Gordon and some of his fans acted all hurt that he wasn’t going to be moving on and intimated that he somehow belonged there.

Wrong, he had fewer points so he didn’t advance. End of story. Just because your name is Gordon doesn’t mean you “deserve” anything. You play the game just like everyone else and move on if you do better.

I hope to God that just because it’s his retirement year, fans and competitors don’t forget that and treat Gordon the same as everyone else on the track.

====================

Matt Myftiu can be reached on Twitter @MattMyftiu; Follow AutoTechReviews on Twitter @AutoTechReview or on Facebook at facebook.com/AutoTechReviews

Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.

AutoTechReviews  is your home for In-depth reviews of the latest cars, trucks, and SUVs; information on all the emerging vehicle technology; and breaking news from the world of NASCAR and other motorsports.

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter. Don’t miss any news or stories.

We do not spam!