Jeff Gordon suffered a broken tire hub with 25 laps to go to derail what had been a possible race-winning effort in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. Gordon was running third when he suffered the misfortune and had to pull his Chevrolet into the garage. His team was unable to repair the damage and Gordon ultimately finished in 38th place.
"Man, that was unfortunate," Gordon said. "The Cromax Pro Chevy was awesome fast and so much fun to drive. The team had done a great job this weekend and hopefully it is a sign of more to come on these (intermediate tracks). We'll learn what happened and we'll try to make sure it doesn't happen again."
Gordon consistently ran in the top-five all night and even took the lead away from eventual race-winner Kyle Busch on lap 189. He relinquished the top spot during green-flag pit stops a few laps later but appeared poised to battle for the victory off the penultimate restart.
Gordon and Martin Truex Jr. looked like the only two drivers capable of hanging with Busch, making the hub failure all the more disappointing.
"The passing is difficult when you've got three cars all running the same speed out there," Gordon said. "I've never seen three cars just sit there and run the same times lap after lap -- and run the same line too. I was trying to deviate from my line and made a few gains on Kyle, so I thought I might have a shot at him before this thing was over."
The four-time Sprint Cup Series champion had established some momentum following back-to-back gritty runs at Auto Club Speedway and Martinsville and had even climbed back into the top-12 in the Sprint Cup standings. Following Saturday's race, Gordon dropped to 15th and now sits 33 points out of the top ten.
In a season that has often mirrored his bad-luck-ridden 2012 campaign, Texas and the NRA 500 was an unfortunate return to the status quo for Jeff Gordon.