Gordon’s Chase hopes take hard hit in Texas

Jeff Gordon crashed at Texas on Sunday, a week after his victory

returned him to contention in the NASCAR Sprint Cup

championship.

Gordon had problems with his front left tire Sunday. The

four-time Cup champion hit the wall hard and high between the first

and second turns, bringing out a caution on the 75th of 334

scheduled laps at the 1 1/2-mile track.

After the Hendrick Motorsports team worked to get the No. 24

Chevrolet back on the track, Gordon finally got back on the track

during a much later caution. When the race resumed with 72 laps

left, Gordon was 185 laps off the pace behind leader and teammate

Jimmie Johnson.

”I just know that the left front went down as I was going down

the front straightaway. I felt it before I got there, and I just

couldn’t get it slowed down enough,” Gordon said. ”I don’t know;

the wind was so strong that the car was doing funky things down the

straightaways. I don’t know if that was a slow leak, or if it just

went all of a sudden. Our car just didn’t take off very good, but

boy was it strong on the long runs.”

After winning at Martinsville, Gordon moved up to a season-high

third in points behind Matt Kenseth and Johnson.

Only two races remain after Texas.