Eddie Gossage: Will be ‘bittersweet’ to see Jeff Gordon run two last times at Texas Motor Speedway

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Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage has known Jeff Gordon for more than 25 years, dating back to when Gordon was still racing sprint cars as a teenager in and around the Midwest, long before he ever became a NASCAR superstar.

For Gossage, Gordon’s announcement Thursday that 2015 will be his final full-time season in Sprint Cup, hit home more personally than to most.

“My first reaction was how did he keep it a secret,” Gossage said in a press conference at the racetrack. “Like all sports, it’s a very difficult industry to keep secrets in and that’s a big story.

“I’ve known Jeff since he was a teenager with a really bad thin little mustache. It’s been a privilege to be around and see him grow into probably the most important driver our series has ever experienced. He brought a professionalism and just an aura that we hadn’t seen before.

“… I’m not going to say he’s the most important driver ever, but he’s in the top two or three.”

Because of their long friendship and all the good times they have spent together over the past quarter century, Gossage went from a high-ranking official in the sport to just a fan, recalling a great deal from Gordon’s career with pride and amazement.

“I’m not surprised, but I think I’m like most race fans. I don’t care who you pull for, you have to be disappointed that one of the very best of all time is in the fourth quarter, maybe the last two minutes, of his career.”

And what a career Gordon has had, Gossage said.

“It’s not a coincidence that the sport grew and Jeff’s career went on a rise at exactly the same time,” Gossage said. “Now, which begat which is the question.

“… He certainly benefitted from NASCAR’s growth, NASCAR benefitted from Jeff’s growth and popularity and his manner and style. But trust me when I say, for somebody who’s known him well, that there’s a fiery, tough guy, hard as nails competitor in there. You don’t become a four-time champ like Jeff and 90-some-odd wins without having that killer attitude when it comes time to drop the flag and go racing.”

Gossage believes Gordon’s ongoing back issue is what finally convinced him to call it a career.

“He has a horrendously bad back that’s been caused and aggravated by racing, getting in and out of the car, simply the wear and tear, but also accidents and things of that nature through the years,” Gossage said.

And while Gossage knows Gordon’s retirement is now reality and will occur following the season’s final race at Homestead 10 months from now, Gossage is both kind of looking forward to and also dreading his friend’s last two appearances in a Sprint Cup car at TMS.

“In the car, he backed it up better than anybody else,” Gossage said. “It’s going to be bittersweet to see him run his last two races here (at TMS).”

See Gossage’s full press conference and more recollections of Gordon in the video below.

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Adam Cianciarulo sweeps to second straight Pro Motocross 450 win

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Adam Cianciarulo (450) and Dylan Ferrandis (250) swept both motos of their divisions Saturday in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship event at Spring Creek MX Park in Millville, Minnesota, significantly impacting the points standings.

After scoring his first career victory Sept. 8 at RedBud, Cianciarulo made it two consecutive victories on his Monster Energy Kawasaki. He won the first moto by 1.7 seconds over Blake Baggett and the second moto by 2.7 seconds over Baggett.

“Man, what a dream come true,” Cianciarulo said. “I really wanted to go 1-1 last round at RedBud and had that silly mistake. Today, we got the job done and made it happen. Two consecutive victories in the 450 Class just feels really good. I just want to keep the ball rolling.”

With three rounds remaining, Cianciarulo is ranked second in the standings at a 15-point deficit to Zach Osborne, who won three of the first five rounds.

In the 250 standings, Dylan Ferrandis jumped ahead of Jeremy Martin (who won three consecutive events earlier in the season) by three points (257-254).

Dylan Ferrandis swept both motos for his second win of the season in the 250 class (Align Media).

Ferrandis beat third-ranked RJ Hampshire in the first moto and nipping Martin by 0.4 seconds in the second.

“That was a difficult race in the second moto and the pressure was on,” Ferrandis said. “It was really good for me to have that battle and come out on top in the second moto. The championship is really close and I think that we were able to put on a good show for everyone today. Jeremy [Martin] and I have a good relationship I think and we congratulated each other and talked about the battle after the race.”

NEXT: The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will hold its seventh round Sept. 26 with the Geico Motorcycle WW Ranch National at Jacksonville, Florida.


RESULTS

Thor Spring Creek National (Spring Creek MX Park, Millville, Minnesota)

450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)

  1. Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki (1-1)
  2. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM (2-2)
  3. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha (5-4)
  4. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (8-3)
  5. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (6-5)
  6. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (3-10)
  7. Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Honda (7-6)
  8. Joey Savatgy, , Suzuki (9-7)
  9. Max Anstie, United Kingdom, Suzuki (10-8)
  10. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna (4-16)

450 Class Championship Standings

  1. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna – 235
  2. Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki – 220
  3. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM – 215
  4. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 196
  5. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha – 194
  6. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM – 190
  7. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 173
  8. Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Honda – 141
  9. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Yamaha – 134
  10. Joey Savatgy, Tallahassee, Fla., Suzuki – 122

250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)

  1. Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha (1-1)
  2. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda (5-2)
  3. Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Suzuki (4-4)
  4. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (3-6)
  5. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (9-3)
  6. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna (2-11)
  7. Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (7-5)
  8. Jo Shimoda, Japan, Honda (12-8)
  9. Mitchell Harrison, Brighton, Mich., Kawasaki (11-9)
  10. Derek Drake, San Luis Obispo, Calif., KTM (8-12)

250 Class Championship Standings

  1. Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha – 257
  2. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda – 254
  3. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 202
  4. Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Suzuki – 194
  5. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., Yamaha – 186
  6. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha – 164
  7. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 162
  8. Cameron McAdoo, Sioux City, Iowa, Kawasaki – 140
  9. Mitchell Harrison, Brighton, Mich., Kawasaki – 123
  10. Brandon Hartranft, Brick, N.J., KTM – 114
Adam Cianciarulo won the holeshot in both motos at Spring Creek (Align Media).