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Woody: Good To See Gordon On The Go

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, June 24 2010

Wonder how Jeff Gordon fans are feeling now? (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Larry Woody | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

Remember when a sizable segment of NASCAR fans used to boo Jeff Gordon because they considered him too goody-goody, too California-cool, too GQ?

Wonder how they like him now?

Last Sunday at Sonoma Gordon drove like a crazed moonshine runner, taking no prisoners and winning no friends. The Boy Scout turned into a Hell’s Angel.

The way Gordon hammered his way through the field reminded me of a fellow named Earnhardt. Senior, that is.

After it was over and the wrecker drivers had collected their overtime pay, Gordon issued an apology. Well, sort of. He said he was sorry for everybody he’d run over except Kurt Busch. Busch, said Gordon, had it coming.

So now everybody is huffy and peeved and vowing vengeance on the No. 24 cannonball-on-wheels. They’ll get their shot this weekend at New Hampshire. Reckon all that fussin’ and feudin’ will have fans sitting up straighter in their Lazy-Boys? You bet it will.

It’s about time someone started racing like they mean it. I’m tired of all the buddy-buddy, warm-and-fuzzy nonsense. NASCAR has become so sweet and syrupy that watching a race can give you cavities.

Before long they’ll start a race with the national anthem and end it with all the drivers holding hands and singing Kum Ba Ya.

Drivers getting their firesuits in a wad is good for business, especially when a hero/villain superstar like Jeff Gordon is doing the agitating.

Understand, Gordon was never really the mild-mannered choirboy racer that his off-track persona suggests. We’ve seen him go toe-to-toe with the great Earnhardt – The Intimidator – and come out on top.

Gordon is one of the greatest stock car racers in history, make no mistake. But he’s been in slump in recent seasons – at least by his past standards –and I suspect that’s what inspired his recent reckless abandon.

He’s got a legacy to chase and the clock is ticking.

Gordon is having a good season by most standards, perched fifth in the point standings. But he is winless through 16 races and there’s the rub.

Jeff has come close, agonizingly close, several times this season but hasn’t been able to seal the deal. Hence, the burr under his saddle.

He has two choices: continue to cruise along and settle for safe second and thrifty thirds, or put the hammer down and go for wins. I think we saw Gordon’s decision last Sunday.

Again, that’s refreshing; I’m tired of hearing the TV guys praise drivers for “looking at the big picture” and “point-racing” to protect their position in the standings. Some old-time fans remember a time when the point of racing wasn’t points – it was to win the race. Somehow, somewhere, the sport got away from that.

Was Gordon rough and reckless at times last Sunday and he tried to hammer his way to the front? You bet he was. Did he peeve some of his fellow drivers and ruffle some feathers? You bet he did.

Good for Gordon. If he keeps driving like that, we’re going to see more 24 tattoos showing up in the chicken-bone sections of the grandstands, and fans who once booed “Wonder Boy” will be squalling, “Give-um-ell Jeffy!”

– Larry Woody can be reached at lwoody@racintoday.com

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, June 24 2010
13 Comments

13 Comments »

  • Nancy Ruth says:

    Go Jeff baby! I agree with a lot of the comments – it’s OK when everyone else bumps and shoves but don’t let Jeff do the same or everyone bad mouths him and seeks revenge. It’s time for Jeff to drive aggressively just like everyone else. He deserves to WIN, whatever it takes. We love Jeff #24 and support you 100%.

  • allshookup1 says:

    Kurt Busch, along with his brother are a pain in the back side.

  • SHARON says:

    ITS CALLED RACIN BOYZ!!!!!!!!!! GO JEFF GORDON

  • Denise says:

    Yes that’s my Gordon getting things done. Can’t wait for this sunday!!!

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  • Laura says:

    Yes, loved that race, best all season. I agree totally, the name of this game is winning races at all cost. Jeff was completly on board at Sonoma. Go Jeff #24

  • Belinda Moser says:

    As a Jeff Gordon fan, I was very surprised by how aggressive Jeff was driving. Some anti-Jeff fans have condemned Jeff for, as Woody says, being “too squeaky clean” and “winning too much”. Others say Jeff is “washed up”. Others bring up how aggressive Jeff first was when he came to Cup. However, I remember Jeff crashing a lot but I don’t remember him having the same aggressiveness that Tony, Juan Pablo, or Kyle Busch have had. I do find it rather funny & ironic people notice how aggressive JEFF was being, but they fail to mention how aggressive Kurt Busch, Juan Pablo, and even Brad Keselowski. Although Kyle’s car was not up to par at Sonoma, how many times have we seen Kyle drive aggressively? When the forementioned drivers are aggressive, that seems to be okay, because that’s their driving style. However, if Jeff is aggressive, then everyone vows revenge? Let them try the revenge factor if they wish. I wonder how long before Nascar will step in and say “enough is enough”?

  • Terrell Davis says:

    “The Boy Scout turned into a Hell’s Angle”. Now that’s classic Woody writin’. Great article about one of the most talented racers ever. How do I know, ’cause Junior Johnson told us so at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway….remember that Woody?

  • Anita Barfield says:

    I agree with the writer of the article. I’ve always called Jeff the “gentleman driver.” But it’s time for the gloves too come off. Anytime the other drivers do something to wreck another, or cause a pile up, it’s excused as “just racin.” But when Jeff Gordon does it, the announcers put him down, & say something to the effect of, “he shouldn’t have done that. That was wrong.” He generally gets put down, & frowned upon. If you’re going to do that sort of thing to one driver, do it to all of them. Jeff isn’t the only one guilty! At least he steps up & admits to his. How many of the others do as well? Go Jeff. All the way! A devoted fan always!

  • Gary says:

    YAY!! Thanks for this article. Proud #24 fan here and always will be, was nice to see him doing the punting for a change. I got really sick of hearing Kyle Petty and Wally Dallenbach criticizing his driving during the race Sunday. When Jeff gets punted out of the way, they laugh and tee hee like a bunch of old hens at their 20th high school reunion talking about old boyfriends. I expect Kyle Petty to lay an egg in New Hampshire this week!

    Gary

  • Carol Potts says:

    That’s right. Until the Joey Logano knock off in last weekends race I thought the race kind of boring, AND I WAS THERE. It’s nice to see some REAL racing.

  • Susan Wood says:

    Awesome article! I agree with the writer. Its time for the gloves to come off! NASCAR is driving me crazy! When is a race a real race? when its go for broke racing! thats when!