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Brandon Daun · Tuesday July 12, 2005
With Dale Earnhardt Junior’s name now listed in the win column for 2005, it is now time to get used to the never-ending focus on the Wrigley Curse and Jeff Gordon. Gordon fell two positions to 15th in the points standings following his crash in Joliet. Is Jeff Gordon doomed to a career filled with heartbreak and failure, just because of a terrible seventh-inning stretch?
I find it hard to believe how this Chicago superstition has become such a crucial factor in the Chase for the Championship. Except for Jimmie Johnson, every driver goes through a slump at one point or another during a season. The way Johnson has performed so far in 2005, I really don’t think any of us will see the day where Jimmie will ever go through a winless drought. Gordon started this season with a win, and then managed to earn two more victories before his misfortunes, so he has proved the 24 team is capable of competing for a place in the Chase. Common sense would show that Gordon is entering a pivotal point in the 2005 season. He has had much success at New Hampshire, Pocono, and Indianapolis. Gordon has a combined total of 10 wins at these tracks, which just happen to be the next three races on the schedule. If he follows up on his past success, Gordon will be back in the hunt for the Chase; if not, he’ll find himself on the outside looking in, probably for good this year.
But if Lady Luck refuses to shine on Jeff Gordon, it is important to remember that no driver is without misfortune. Drivers like Rusty Wallace, Jeff Burton, and Dale Jarrett are all familiar with having strong runs on a consistent basis, and then finding themselves with more troubles than all the other drivers combined. Every driver has a fall from grace every now and then, and Gordon is no stranger to misery on the track.
And through the year, Gordon has proven he’s a driver that can bounce back. There was a time when much of the media’s attention was on Jeff Gordon’s marital woes three years ago. There were questions of when Gordon would win a race again, and if he could claim another championship. Gordon proved he could rebound when he ended his winless streak at Bristol in 2002, and has challenged for the title every year since. That win back in 2002 ended a 31 winless streak, something Gordon doesn’t have to contend with in 2005, as he has already won three races this season.
Gordon has proven he can rebound from hard luck on the track, and he is motivated to obtain a place in the Chase for the Championship. With Gordon determined to claim a fifth championship title, and the success of Hendrick Motorsports this season, I highly doubt that Jeff Gordon will be unable to return to his winning ways before the Chase for the Championship is established, no matter how badly he can screw up the words to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame…"
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Also, “Gordo’s” much sucess at the next three tracks doesn’t hold much water, when you look at the fact that his 3 wins came at a short track and 2 superspeedways. Tracks that “Gordo” had dominated before he has stuggled with, I.E. Michigan, Lowe’s, California, just to name a few. I think if “Gordo” is going to make the chase he is going to have to find what works again, or could it be that Jimmie is getting the cars that Jeffy was getting and Jeffy is getting the cars Terry and whatever driver was driving the 25 car that week.