Jun 22, 2014, 7:11 PM EDT
Jeff Gordon spent the first few years of his life just a stone’s throw away from Sonoma Raceway, in nearby Vallejo, California.
It was at that same Sonoma track that Gordon began to get an appreciation for what would eventually become his life’s work, that of a race car driver.
And even though he moved to Indiana for his teens and to pursue those racing dreams, Gordon has never forgotten how much of a factor Sonoma played in his development.
It’s a place he’s always enjoyed returning to and, more often than not, he ends up with a good showing – just like Sunday’s runner-up finish in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
Gordon, who leads all active Cup drivers with five wins at the twisting and turning road course in California’s wine country, almost made it six triumphs Sunday, but came up just a little bit short to eventual winner Carl Edwards.
Had it not been an uncharacteristic late error by Gordon in the race, he very well may have made it a half-dozen victories, he explained to TNT in a post-race interview.
“With five or six laps to go, I was making some ground up on Carl,” Gordon said on TNT. “I was really good in the fast sections and he was pretty good in the slow sections, so I just happened to hit everything so perfect.
“I just overdrove it going into (turn) four one time and went real wide off and that gave him enough of a gap that I had to close it back in.”
Gordon did an excellent job of closing that gap one last time and appeared he would catch Edwards on the final turn – turn 11 – on the final lap.
Unfortunately for Gordon, Edwards threw the block and rather than run the risk of wrecking out both drivers, Gordon backed off and settled for a still excellent runner-up finish.
“I just couldn’t put enough pressure on him,” Gordon said of Edwards. “I saw him struggling with the grip level, but he drove a clean race, did everything he needed to do.
“That last lap, I gave it my best effort and closed up on him. I just drove into 11 as hard as I could, we weren’t good into 11 anyway, he didn’t overdrive it. I was hoping he might slide it and I could get a run underneath him, but overall a great weekend. We had a great car in the race.”
Thanks to his 14th career top-5 at Sonoma (in 22 starts), Gordon remains atop the Sprint Cup standings.
Ironically, Gordon could actually be at 10 wins at Sonoma: he’s finished second now in three of the last four Sprint Cup races there, in addition to two other second-place runs there earlier in his career.
But the veteran driver will take another great run and move forward.
“I love racing here, I love being competitive, leading the points and having a shot at winning races,” Gordon said. “We’re having fun.”
Follow me @JerryBonkowski
Sep 2, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT
The Fontana race replay and championship celebration air tonight on NBCSN from 8 p.m. ET through 11:30 p.m. ET.
Sep 2, 2014, 7:03 PM EDT
NASCAR AMERICA’s Kyle Petty and Parker Kligerman have their ideas on who can beat out NASCAR’s two strongest teams for a championship.
Sep 2, 2014, 6:34 PM EDT
The newest Chase-bound driver chats with NBCSN’s Marty Snider about his win on Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Sep 2, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT
400 miles. 2 Chase Grid spots. It all comes down to Saturday night.
Sep 2, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT
Coming up today: Beating the Hendrick/Penske bloc; Atlanta edition of “Scan All 43″; Kyle Busch’s continued struggles; the career of crew chief Jimmy Fennig.
Sep 2, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
Daly confirms the tough news on his Twitter page, citing a “lack of funding” as the cause for his dropping.
Sep 2, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT
Ron Hornaday Jr. is out of a ride and 18 employees are out of a job.
Sep 2, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT
Alonso to Britain’s Sky Sports: “I want to win here and finish the job that we started some years ago, and we will see what the future [holds]“
Sep 2, 2014, 2:15 PM EDT
Mazda Road to Indy regulars Scott Hargrove and Daniel Burkett secure titles in Porsche GT3 Canada and Atlantic, respectively.
Sep 2, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT
Pierre Gasly, a Red Bull Junior, will join Caterham’s GP2 team for the rest of 2014.
Sep 2, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT
Ryan Newman is the only Chase hopeful that controls his destiny going into Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400.
Sep 2, 2014, 1:03 PM EDT
Mikhail Aleshin updates his social media pages for first time since scary Fontana accident on Friday night.
Sep 2, 2014, 12:17 PM EDT
What was Haas Formula is now Haas F1 Team as part of a new brand rollout.
Sep 2, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
United Fiber & Data looks set to return to IndyCar for 2015 and the foreseeable future.
Sep 2, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
Team Penske president Tim Cindric all but confirms Will Power will run the No. 1 in 2015.
Sep 2, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT
MAVTV announces IndyCar’s return to Fontana for two more years through 2016, although official confirmation from the sanctioning body and a date remains to be revealed.
Sep 1, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT
Kahne to NBCSN contributor Nate Ryan: “We need to build off of this…As a team, we need to be stronger together.”
Sep 1, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT
NASCAR AMERICA’S Kyle Petty and Parker Kligerman believe that the three-time Sprint Cup champion handled himself well throughout a difficult weekend.
Sep 1, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT
Organizers of the Russian Grand Prix appear to be getting behind their countryman as F1’s first visit to Sochi draws closer.
Sep 1, 2014, 6:35 PM EDT
Richie Crampton, Alexis DeJoria, Shane Gray and Eddie Krawiec captured U.S. Nationals wins on Monday.
Video from NASCAR America
- Gene Haas’ F1 team changes team name, launches new pages 3
- Cindric proposes IndyCar champion Will Power will run No. 1 in 2015 2
- NASCAR AMERICA: Assessing Tony Stewart’s return at Atlanta (VIDEO) 1
- Feelin’ free: Frustrations end for Chase-bound Kahne, IndyCar champ Power 3
- Honda preps for first simulations, expresses confidence it can match Mercedes 5
- Kenseth clinches Chase berth; Bowyer falls out of Grid with one race to go 1
- Kasey Kahne rallies in last 2 laps to win at Atlanta, makes Chase 1