Gordon: ' You expect … more' out of a champion
May 07, 2014, Holly Cain, NASCAR.com
As far as Jeff Gordon is concerned, NASCAR champions should naturally be held to a higher standard.
Three days after being collected in a multicar accident at Talladega Superspeedway triggered by a six-laps-down 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski, four-time Cup champion Gordon was still perplexed by Keselowski's thinking. And driving.
In a Wednesday interview on ESPN's "SportsCenter," Gordon said you tend to expect more from a champion than racing the field so hard when you're already several laps down. Gordon, who is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his first Cup win (in the 1994 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway), said he remembers going through a learning curve as well and making mistakes early on.
But, "I think the difference is Brad is not a rookie," Gordon said. "He's not new. He's a champion, and I think with champions, you expect a little bit more out of them. He's aggressive, and that's part of the reason why he's been successful. But I think there's a fine line between being aggressive and being smart or not being smart.
"And in this case, you know, you're six laps down. Unless you get in front of the leader and get multiple cautions, and then you have to do it again and again to get six laps back, it's very, very challenging and difficult to do."
Keselowski took a lot of heat from fellow drivers in the immediate aftermath Sunday.
However, he also assumed responsibility for the accident, which damaged 14 cars -- including fellow Cup champs Gordon, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart -- even as he explained he had every right to try to and get his laps back.
"Last weekend wasn't much fun," Keselowski said of Talladega. "Windshield and bug.
"We've had some good weekends this year. Last weekend was probably our worst one. I don't think anybody would argue that. Getting back on the track, getting back in a rhythm is never a bad thing even if you just had a good week so I'm certainly still learning."
Gordon said the two drivers haven’t communicated since Sunday, and he didn’t necessarily expect a long conversation and review.
"That's just Brad," Gordon said. "I don't have a problem with Brad. That race in Talladega is a wild, crazy race. I don't agree with what he did. I hope he thinks twice about it.
"If I see him, I'm sure we will talk about it, but I'm just ready to go on to Kansas."