NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 6 Jeff Gordon

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Jeff Gordon

Season finish: 6th
2014 Season Stats:  4 Wins, 14 Top-5s, 23 Top-10s, 3 Poles.

What went right: In a season that reminded us of his 1990s glory days, the four-time Sprint Cup champion held the points lead for much of the regular season. He earned three victories during that span but none were bigger than his fifth career triumph in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis, which elevated him further among the ranks of Indy legends. Gordon rolled on into the Chase and earned a fourth 2014 win in the Challenger Round finale at Dover; he would then score three more runner-up finishes in the homestretch at Charlotte, Martinsville, and Phoenix.

In summary, he showed us why he’ll go down as a legend in the sport and a likely first-ballot Hall of Famer.

What went wrong: Late in the Eliminator Round middle race at Texas, Brad Keselowski and Gordon made contact after the former went for a piece of real estate on a restart. Gordon’s tire subsequently went down and relegated him to 29th; you know the rest of the story. Then, one week later in the Eliminator finale at Phoenix, Gordon’s runner-up finish wasn’t enough to put him in the Championship Round at Homestead after Ryan Newman shoved Kyle Larson aside on the final lap to finish 11th and earn the final Championship spot.

Beyond those instances, there was one notable touch of negative: Gordon’s back woes, which came to the fore after spasms forced him out of Coca-Cola 600 practice in May. He would run the 600-mile race, but the back episode touched off talk of Gordon having to retire if those issues persist. If he wants to eventually claim a fifth Cup title, it’s something he’ll have to stay on top of.

2015 Prospectus: Despite those cruel twists of fate at Texas and Phoenix, Gordon and the 24 camp (led by crew chief Alan Gustafson) know they had a 2014 season they can feel good about and will be very eager to keep up the pace in 2015. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see them bag multiple wins again.

Report: Spencer Pigot out at Ed Carpenter Racing

Joe Skibinski / IndyCar
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Spencer Pigot will not return to Ed Carpenter Racing in 2020, according to a story Thursday by RACER.com.

The 26-year-old Floridian, who won the 2015 Indy Lights championship, is expected to be replaced in the No. 21 Chevrolet by 2019 Indy Lights runner-up Rinus VeeKay.

“I’m appreciative of the opportunity ECR gave me,” Pigot told RACER.com. “I understand the reasons they had to go in a different direction, and wish them all the best.”

In 56 NTT IndyCar Series starts, Pigot has 15 top 10 finishes, with a best finish of second at Iowa in 2018. He finished 14th in the 2019 point standings.

VeeKay, who tested in an Indy car twice for ECR in 2019, has six wins in 18 Indy Lights starts, including a weekend sweep of the final two rounds of the season at Laguna Seca in September.

A representative from ECR told NBC Sports Thursday that the team currently could not comment on any driver rumors as the team currently does not have any drivers under contract for the 2020 season, although it is presumed that owner/driver Carpenter will return to the No. 20 entry for the oval rounds.

NBC Sports will provide updates on the story once more information becomes available.