It’s not where you start, but where you finish. But qualifying farther up certainly would’ve helped Hendrick Motorsports going into tomorrow night’s 5-Hour Energy 400 at Kansas Speedway.
The Hendrick camp will have a bit of work ahead of them, as all four of its drivers – Sprint Cup points leader Jeff Gordon (13th), defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson (14th), Kasey Kahne (17th), and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (22nd) – were unable to get themselves into the final round and contend for the pole.
Gordon and Johnson were surprised that they didn’t have the speed to advance from Round 2.
“I really thought in practice we had a car that would have easily qualified in the top 24 for that first round and made it into round 2 just to start working on how we could sit on the pole and be in the top five,” Gordon said. “I did not expect to be here in 13th or 14th.”
“We felt like we had a car that could get into the final round and came up short,” Johnson told MRN. “I ran my fastest lap of the weekend so far, but it wasn’t enough to get us there. So, we’ll have to do a little bit more work in qualifying trim to get it.”
Johnson was more optimistic about his car in race trim after successful practice sessions earlier today, but wasn’t ready to declare an idea of what to expect tomorrow, when the Sprint Cup Series holds its first-ever night race on the 1.5-mile Kansas oval.
“We kind of get trends that certain tires show us and certain surfaces, but until you get out there and live it and experience it for yourself, you’re just guessing until then,” he said.
Also having to come from the pack tomorrow will be several drivers from the Toyota camp. Only one of the manufacturer’s drivers, Brian Vickers (15th), was able to qualify within the Top 20.
Home-state hero Clint Bowyer will roll off 23rd for his 300th Sprint Cup start, and is joined in Row 12 by Kyle Busch. Busch’s JGR teammates, Matt Kenseth and Talladega winner Denny Hamlin, start 28th and 30th respectively.
Other Toyota runners starting deep include rookies Ryan Truex (31st) and Cole Whitt (36th), as well as veteran Joe Nemechek (43rd).
Golden did more to break the glass ceiling in SuperMotocross than she ever thought possible. She knows this because riders have never felt the need to explain any of her accomplishments with the disclaimer, “for a girl”.
At this point in Golden’s career, she’s been the first woman to finish top 10 in AMA Arenacross Lites, the first woman to qualify in the Fast 40 in Monster Energy AMA Supercross and the first woman to compete in freestyle Moto X competition, earning a bronze medal by doing so.
Her love for moto came from childhood while she watched her dad and brother ride. By seven she was on her bike and making waves throughout Southern California.
Golden, 30, is still madly in love with the sport and has no plans on moving away but her career is already one to talk about. 805 Beer’s film series wanted to do exactly that.
“I’m taken aback by it all,” Golden told NBC Sports about the documentary. “It’s just crazy to see your story, it’s one thing to live your life and battle everything that comes about but it’s another to just sit there and talk about it.”
805 approached Golden about the feature by asking, “Do you even realize that what you do, and your story is special?”
Golden took the question as a blank canvas to map out the highs and lows of her career and life.
The title “Inverted Perspective” came from a brainstorming session with Dominick Russo and it highlights Golden’s outlook on the sport of SuperMotocross and her life in general.
“My whole life, my whole career was thinking differently and looking at things that shouldn’t be done and aren’t there, while being able to make a place for myself, where no one thought there should be a place,” Golden said. “It’s inspiring someone to think in different ways. It sums up my life.”
While Golden is no stranger to the spotlight, this was the first time she’s been fully involved with the storytelling and creation of a feature about herself.
“It’s not like a full new experience,” Golden said. “Obviously, you get your standard questions about your upbringing and accomplishments, but I’ve never really put into perspective things that happened in my past with my dad and putting that to light. Also, certain other things that maybe got overlooked in previous interviews or films. I wanted to touch on these and Dom wanted to create a story. It’s just cool to see it come to light, it’s a nearly impossible thing to tell somebody’s life story in 40 minutes.”
Golden’s father was left paralyzed after an ATV accident, robbing him the opportunity to ride again. This happened a few months before the father-daughter duo was set to compete in the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Nationals when Vicki was 12. While she might have been unable to grasp the severity at the time, it’s something she carries with her. Golden continues to ride in his honor.
Years later, an accident in 2018 nearly sidelined the then 25-year-old Vicki when a freestyle accident almost resulted in the amputation of her lower leg.
“Inverted Perspective” highlights her father’s diligence in helping Vicki continue with her career and the kindness and strength he carried while fighting his own battle.
“My dad was the entire reason that I started riding in the first place,” Golden said. “So, to honor his memory and to honor what we went through and how hard he pushed to keep our dream alive and keep everything going – in that sense then, it was really special to be able to honor him and talk about him.”
The 40-minute feature was filmed entirely in black and white, a stark contrast from the oversaturated world of motocross where the brighter the suit the easier it is for fans to find their rider and follow him in the race. By filming in monochrome Russo and Golden had the chance to focus on the race and track from a different perspective.
“It was cool to be able to film it differently,” Golden said. “It created a challenge in the sense of what was going to be more visually impactful for the film.
“I couldn’t be here without the companies that back me but at the same time, it’s not like the logos or colors disappeared, it’s just different lights shed on different spots. It’s just a cool way to do it and to take color away and still be impactful. When you think of black and white, you think of old school, the OG way of doing things.”