News & Media

Tire issues cost Gordon chance at victory in Texas

November 05, 2012, Mark Aumann,

FORT WORTH, Texas -- It's called "unzipping," when the tire tread separates under high wear conditions. And it's what ruined Jeff Gordon's sterling run Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.

As the sun ducked behind the mainstretch grandstands and the track began to cool, Gordon's No. 24 Chevrolet began to heat up. The fastest car on the track, Gordon began to pick off the leaders with seeming ease.

In fact, the only thing that slowed his momentum was the need to conserve fuel in case he needed to make it to the end on one more stop. With 125 miles to go, Gordon had closed to within a couple of car-lengths of leader Brad Keselowski and seemed to be biding his time.

But it wasn't to be. Gordon abruptly slowed and darted onto pit road on Lap 270, complaining of a possible flat right front tire. And after it was removed from the car, it showed the tell-tale grooves of a tire on the verge of unzipping.

Gordon's unscheduled stop caused him to lose a lap. And even though he received the wave-around a handful of laps later, things went from bad to worse when Gordon was involved in a chain-reaction incident with teammate Kasey Kahne on Lap 320, forcing Gordon back into the pits for repairs. He eventually finished 14th.