The No. 24 Chevrolet might not have been in Victory Lane on Sunday afternoon, yet Jeff Gordon set two more career milestones.
Just past the halfway mark of the GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway, the 42-year-old became the first driver to lead 1,000 or more laps at the ‘Tricky Triangle.’ Moreover, Gordon also set a personal milestone in the midst of Sunday’s race. After his first personal triumph on the day, he passed 24,000 laps led in his entire NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career.
“We had the dominant car, but you had to have track position and you know, there at the end we didn’t have it,” Gordon said. “I think if we had started outside lanes there at the end we would have had it. My restarts weren’t terrible today, they weren’t bad when we were on the outside and we could make up some spots.”
“Unfortunately on those last couple ones, we were on the inside. But with Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) getting out in front of us there through that pit sequence, there was nothing we could do. He was really good. Whoever got out front, him or me, was going to win this race. I am still really happy with the way our car performed today. It’s just so awesome and encouraging and has got my confidence sky high and I just can’t wait to get to the next race.”
Over the past few years, the four-time champion has experienced back problems on multiple occasions. However, it is not slowing him down. When it has been extremely bad, Gordon has had a driver on stand-by, but he has never had to use one.
“I don’t think my back is ever going to be the same after what happened at Charlotte. I don’t know what exactly transpired there, but it’s not the same. And I have to be much more careful. I’m just having to treat it more with ice and stem and be more careful and do more stretching. Is it going to flare-up again? It could. But I’m just trying to be more cautious with the things that I do that I feel like contribute to that. But, yeah, it’s not great, that’s for sure,” he said in a press conference on Friday.
After winning his 90th career race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last weekend, Gordon led 63 of the 160 laps at Pocono Raceway on Sunday afternoon. With the championship lead and a pair of wins – he is on pace to be a serious contender for the 2015 crown.
As he moves forward, the driver of the No. 24 car is going to be very careful with his back. More importantly, however, he is spending time with his family. As he looks to strengthen his relationship with his children and wife, racing will end up taking the back seat sooner or later.