IN THE DRAFT: Gordon making the most of Chase gift
Well, I hope NASCAR is happy! They added a 13th driver to the Chase and, by golly, he is in third place.
Notice I didn't say I was happy about it? I never thought Jeff Gordon was deserving of his spot in the Chase, but he is making the most of it. I am sure Henry Kitchings is thrilled, too! More about him later, let's talk about Jeff.
Ever since Jeff won his last title in 2001, his big promotion has been the Drive for Five as he has been trying for that elusive fifth championship. I haven't heard much about that phrase in the last two or three years. Jeff's teams have undergone several changes, from crew chiefs to crew members. It has been hard to keep the continuity championship teams need.
I think Jeff's current chief, Alan Gustafson, has molded a really good team and Rick Hendrick evidently knew what he was doing when he switched things around by moving certain people from one team to another. The team had some really bad breaks at times but has been able to work themselves back into contention for 2013.
Yet, they should not have been in the Chase! The Richmond debacle was only one race. There were 25 races prior to Richmond and, just because someone made a stupid decision, NASCAR deemed it necessary to allow Gordon to be the 13th car. What did Martin Truex Jr. do wrong? Why didn't they allow him to stay in? Because he doesn't drive for Hendrick, that's why.
Gordon's win in Martinsville put him in a position to challenge Johnson and Kenseth with only Kevin Harvick being the other driver with a reasonable chance. I never thought he could come this close, but with three races remaining at Texas, Phoenix and Homestead he actually has a good chance.
Kenseth is stronger on the mile-and-a-half at Texas, but after that I think you could throw them in a hat and pick any of them to win. I still favor Johnson, but just as Henry would say, don't count out Jeff.
For as long as I have been writing this column Henry Kitchings has wanted me to say Jeff is one of the best ever. I will never say it. I don't care if he wins the title this year. Yes, if it happens he will be one of the greats, but I will not admit it! I will not, mainly for spite.
Winning five championships would be an awesome achievement. Heck, winning four is fantastic, but he should not have been given this opportunity. So Henry, Jeff is good but he should have been just another driver trying finish out the season this year.
We are fast closing in on the end of the 2013 season. Where has this year disappeared to? Three more races and it will be Thanksgiving, then Christmas and before you know it we will be back at Daytona for Speedweeks. See you after Texas.