A memorable weekend did not end the way he hoped, but Jeff Gordon had no regrets after finishing 16th in Sunday’s Toyota/SaveMart 350.
“It was a great weekend,” he said. “Nothing’s going to take away from this weekend for me. I know it wasn’t the finish we wanted, but it was still a very memorable weekend.”
In his 23rd and final Sprint Cup start at Sonoma Raceway, Gordon hoped to return to his home track and win but it didn’t happen.
When the race started, Gordon, who grew up in nearby Vallejo, Calif., was racy and remained steady in the top 10. His hopes of earning his first win of 2015 looked promising.
“I was really optimistic going into the race,” Gordon said. “Our car was good in practice, we qualified well. They dropped the green and we were moving forward. I was pretty happy with it.”
But as the 110-lap event played out, the original race setup Gordon and crew chief Alan Gustafson chose started to go away. A penalty on Lap 75 didn’t help. NASCAR penalized Gordon after a crew member tossed a spring rubber over the pit wall.
Additional in-race adjustments didn’t help, and Gordon struggled.
“It just seemed as the track continued to lay rubber, our setup, which we were taking a little bit of a gamble and risk with, but it looked good in practice … it just didn’t pay off for us,” Gordon said.
“So, we had to make some big adjustments and lose track position. But the car was really, really good there at the end.”