Jeff Gordon says Pocono spat with crew chief may help No. 24 team
Jeff Gordon said Friday that the much-publicized blast of late-race f-bombs he and crew chief Alan Gustafson lobbed at each other during the closing stages of a frustrating race at Pocono might actually turn out to be a positive for his Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 team.
Gordon and Gustafson bickered angrily over pit strategy at Pocono on a day when the team ran well but finished 14th.
"It's intense out there. We had a car far better than what we finished," said Gordon, who is 10th in points heading into Sunday's Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway. "I would say (it was the result of) a little bit of build-up with the type of season that we have had so far. It seems like every time we have a car that is capable of either winning or running in the top five some circumstances come about that take us kind of out of that. That is frustrating.
"When you are in the closing laps of a race or coming down to the final pit stops, and you are making choices and decisions you are not always going to like those decisions," Gordon said. "At that point I think both Alan was frustrated and I were frustrated. The restarts weren't going great. We took a risk on pit strategy and the caution came out. That blew that strategy and that put us back."
So when Gustafson called Gordon to pit, the argument began.
"He was thinking that we needed to come in," said Gordon. "I felt like the car was pretty good at that point. I rarely ever question those calls. He is the crew chief and he makes great calls, but at that point I felt like I needed to stay out and it got a little heated."
Gordon said the public airing of the argument had some positive effects.
"It is all good. We are big boys," said Gordon. "We respect the heck out of one another and we had great conversations this week. I think it's actually been more positive that we kind of got that out there and had this heated moment. And said some things and got them off our chest. I think it has actually helped us come into this weekend focused, motivated and excited."
VIDEO: A look back at the verbal dispute between Jeff Gordona and crew chief Alan Gustafson at Pocono