FORT WORTH, TX – NOVEMBER 03: Crew members work on the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, driven by Jeff Gordon, following an incident on track during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 3, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Lady Luck is a cruel mistress.
If you don’t believe it, just ask Jeff Gordon of any of his legion of devoted followers.
When Gordon won at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 27, suddenly he found himself thrust into the championship discussion for the first time all season.
Could the impossible suddenly become reality? Could Gordon, who only made it into the Chase for the Sprint Cup at the very last minute – and as the 13th Chase driver – somehow pull off a miracle and get past Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson to win his fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup championship?
Gordon and his fans knew the odds were long, but, hey, no one expected him to go from 13th to third in points with just three races to go.
So when Gordon and the rest of his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team pulled into Texas Motor Speedway for the AAA Texas 500, optimism was sky high.
Alas, it was not to be.
On Lap 74, Gordon blew a left-front tire and went hurtling hard into the Turn 1 wall, heavily damaging the No. 24 Chevrolet. After a lengthy stay in the garage for repairs, Gordon would finish 38th, 187 laps behind race-winner Johnson.
In a flash, Gordon’s championship dreams were crushed and ground into the TMS SAFER barrier.
"It is so unfortunate," Gordon said. "This Drive to End Hunger No. 24 team has done such an amazing job. I am so proud of them to get us where we are. You just can’t have things like this happen if you are going to make a run at a championship or battle with those guys."