Monday, October 26, 2015

Right Sides Only: Notes from 500 Winning Crew Chief, Todd Gordon

Was there anyone who wasn't stressed as the field headed to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend for the 500? Oh, yeah. Todd Gordon wasn't stressed. Not even a little bit. After two consecutive wins in the Contender round, the crew chief for the No. 22 team led by driver Joey Logano couldn't have been more at ease.

"I would say we were probably the lowest stressed group coming into today," Gordon confessed.
Even though the team had no pressure to win and could have finished dead last with no consequences, they approached the race with the same vigor they've displayed on five other winning occasions this season and won ... again.

"The final laps, we had a good car. Felt like we could contend. Execution in the pits got us to the point where we got off pit road that last fuel-only stop first. Just watching it go, seeing what was happening with the 16, he was trying to make it on fuel. Wasn't sure where that was going to go.
"The caution definitely put us in a position where you knew there was going to be restarts. Playing the one restart rule, we got through it with a caution coming up pretty quickly there, and survived," Gordon explained.
Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images
Strategy continued to be the name of the game, even on the final restart at which time Logano opted to switch lanes so that the No. 24 and 88 Hendrick cars wouldn't line up.

"I felt like the 24 has been strong.  Obviously qualified on the pole by 2/10ths and something. You know the 24 is really strong. Didn't really want to stack the 24 and 88 together in one lane.
"We felt like splitting the Hendrick cars up and ourselves up, we could get a better run being the leader. You get to set the restart, and took the opportunity to split those guys up," Gordon offered.
Logano joins seven other drivers in the Eliminator round when it begins next week at Martinsville Speedway: Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch.

Can the No. 22 team make it four in a row? Will eliminated drivers spoil their chances? I can't wait to find out.

   Stacey Owens lives just outside Music City USA. She's always wanted to be a NASCAR writer, so working as a columnist and support editor for Skirts and Scuffs allows her to live that dream every single weekend.
    The sole NASCAR enthusiast in her home, she's hopeful that one of her three daughters might also harbor an appreciation for NASCAR, but it isn't looking good so far.
    Her other interests include country music, though she can't carry a tune; collegiate football, though she needs a lot of work on her spiral; and Kentucky basketball, even though at 6' tall, she's never played a day in her life.


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