Second Chase comeback not to be for Jeff Gordon


One year ago at Richmond International Raceway, Jeff Gordon put on a stellar late run to race his way into the Chase for the Sprint Cup. But tonight at RIR, despite another superb effort, the four-time Cup champion lost out on a post-season berth by the narrowest of margins.

Gordon was able to make his way back into contention for a Chase spot after falling two laps down earlier in the race thanks to a vibration that was later confirmed to be a loose right-front wheel.

But the last restart of the night with three laps remaining – triggered by a caution-inducing spin from Clint Bowyer with seven laps to go – changed everything.

After the green came back, Gordon was unable to move forward and wound up finishing eighth, while Joey Logano, who had taken a wave-around under the yellow to pull within one lap of the leaders, gained three positions to 22nd.

When it was all over, Gordon had lost out to Logano for the 10th spot in the Cup championship – the final automatic bid in the Chase – by a single point.

“It wasn’t pretty, but we were getting it done until that caution came out, and you know, we still could have made it in,” said Gordon. “The [last] restart just didn’t go the way we needed it to, so that’s unfortunate.

“It’s tough. I’m just bummed for this team.  They worked so hard, and I don’t know why we’ve had the kind of rough year that we’ve had. We’re going to do everything we can to go these next 10 races and step it up and get ourselves in position to be more competitive.”

It marks just the second time since the inception of the Chase that Gordon will not be able to compete for a championship.

He led the first 49 laps of the race on Saturday, but faded afterwards. He was running 15th at the time he had to pit for the vibration. At that point, it looked as if his hopes were done, then and there.

But Gordon was able to get one of his laps back on the track, and then earned the free pass when the caution came out at Lap 268 for a spin involving David Stremme.

He went down a lap once more when Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson hit the wall with 57 laps remaining, but again got the free pass. And with Logano unable to gain positions at the time, Gordon eventually broke into the Top 10 of the standings after moving to ninth place with less than 35 laps remaining.

But the Bowyer yellow proved disastrous for him. Now, Gordon and his No. 24 team will only be racing for pride and 11th place for the remainder of the season.

Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points


Three riders remain locked in a tight battle with 17 points separating the leader Cooper Webb from third-place Chase Sexton and these are only a few Supercross numbers to consider entering Seattle.

Seattle Supercross numbers
Chase Sexton made a statement in Detroit with his second win of 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

For the fifth time in 10 rounds. Sexton, Webb, and Eli Tomac shared the podium in Detroit. Between them, the trio has taken 23 podiums, leaving only seven for the remainder of the field. Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia have two each with Aaron Plessinger scoring the other.

Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.

Tomac has won two of the last three Seattle races and those two wins in this stadium are topped only by James Stewart. Fittingly, if Tomac gets a third win this week, he will tie Stewart for second on the all-time wins’ list. Tomac tied Ricky Carmichael for third with 48 wins at Oakland and took sole possession of that spot with his Daytona win.

Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.

The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.

In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.

Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.

Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.

Last Five Seattle Winners

2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto

2022: Hunter Lawrence
2019: Dylan Ferrandis
2018: Aaron Plessinger
2017: Aaron Plessinger
2014: Cole Seely

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

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Chase Sexton wins in Detroit, penalized seven points