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“One of the Dumbest Things” – Jeff Burton on the Controversial Jeff Gordon-Hendrick Motorsports Decision by NASCAR

Published 05/25/2022, 12:58 PM EDT

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There was controversy when Ryan Blaney was allowed to keep his win at the All-Star race. He crossed the line during the yellow flag and began to unclip his window net. Then he got the call that the race was still on, and he had to hastily pin it back up.

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Admittedly, this is not the first time NASCAR has come under fire for questionable decision-making. On that occasion, it appeared to benefit Hendrick Motorsports driver Jeff Gordon.


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Back in 2013, the first round of the Playoffs had wrapped up with 12 cars going through, as expected. However, an unusual situation arose when Jeff Gordon was allowed to advance despite sitting 13th in the championship. Looking back on the matter several years later, former NASCAR driver Jeff Burton called it one of the dumbest decisions.

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He said, “I will tell you, that I think one of the worst calls in the history of the sport. Was when they put Jeff Gordon in the damn Playoffs because of what happened at Richmond with the NWR car.”

“That was one of the dumbest things that ever happened in the history of the sport. When they made that call, it made me wonder whether I even wanted to be in this sport. It was so horrendous to put a guy in the sport.”

What prompted Jeff Gordon to be promoted into the 2015 Playoffs?


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For context, it all boiled down to a deal between Team Penske and Front Row Motorsports. As Ford teams, Penske struck a deal to let David Gilliland allow Joey Logano to pass him. This would help the #22 driver gain one extra point and keep 12th place in the championship, at the behest of Gordon.

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Following an investigation, Team Penske and FRM were placed on probation. Then, a bizarre turn of events elected to shoe-horn in Jeff Gordon as the 13th driver in the 12-man championship battle.


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NASCAR VP Loosely Admits Fault Even as Ryan Blaney Thanks Them Amidst All-Star Race Debacle

Earlier at Richmond, Clint Bowyer spun and Brian Vickers pitted to promote Martin Truex Jr into a position to qualify for the Playoffs. All in all, it was an unusual sequence of events, which culminated in Gordon being included as a 13th playoff driver.

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Written by:

Dhruv George


One take at a time

Dhruv George is a senior Motorsports author for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.
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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh