Jeff Gordon’s victory last week at the Pocono Raceway was improbable, but it didn’t change the driver’s attitude toward luck.
Jimmie Johnson led the most laps, but he crashed with Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin on a late restart while everyone was trying to get up front before a thunderstorm hit the track.
Gordon shot through the accident to take the lead. Moments later he was declared the winner after the storm hit.
“I don’t believe that’s luck, good luck or bad luck,” Gordon said. “I don’t think it was bad luck on Jimmie’s part. The car got loose. I don’t think it was good luck on our part. We were in the right place at the right time. Some people might call that luck.
“I call that, you know, a hard day’s work of getting into that position for something to go your way and go right.”
Gordon has talked about things going against him this year. He has nine top-10 finishes this year, but he’s had a lot of trouble finishing races. His win at Pocono turned his difficult season around and put him in one of two wild card spots with five races to go before the Chase for the Championship starts.
In fact, last Sunday’s race was the first time he didn’t have a good luck charm in the car. His fans have besieged him with an array of charms to break his losing streak.
“I’ve had fans sending me stuff. My wife has given me things, my daughter,” he said. “That just tells you: Just work hard, you win as a team.
“I tell you what; the way our year has gone, we’ll definitely take it like this.”
ALLMENDINGER FACES LONG ROAD, DRIVERS SAY: While AJ Allmendinger still has the support of most drivers, they said any return to a top-level team will be difficult.
Allmendinger, who told ESPN.com he tested positive for the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drug Adderall, hopes to be cleared by NASCAR’s Road to Recovery program later this month.
Few, however, said he will find any great opportunities in the Sprint Cup.
“I think he’ll be back in a Cup car. Will it be a good Cup car? I don’t think so,” Denny Hamlin said. “I think he’ll get an opportunity, but it’s just so hard now. When champions of our sport like Matt Kenseth can’t find sponsors and things it’s going to be a real tough road to get back to where you were. He had a really, really good ride obviously in that 22 car (at Penske Racing). It’s just so hard now. These companies are just not willing to take the risks like they used to on a young driver, much less someone with a bad history. It’s going to be a tough road.”
Carl Edwards said once Allmendinger is cleared, he won’t have any trouble racing against him. Tony Stewart, who said Allmendinger deserves a second chance, agreed.