Gordon’s streak survives

Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont 20 Years Celebratory Chevrolet, stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2012 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont 20 Years Celebratory Chevrolet, stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2012 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

HOMESTEAD, Fla.—On Sunday at Homestead, Jeff Gordon will make his 689th consecutive start in the Sprint Cup Series, the longest active streak among active drivers and the third longest all-time behind Ricky Rudd (788) and Rusty Wallace (697).

There were some tense moments, however, as Gordon awaited a penalty ruling from NASCAR after Gordon retaliated against Clint Bowyer in last Sunday’s Cup race at Phoenix, wrecking himself and Bowyer, as well as Joey Logano and Aric Almirola in the process.

There was sentiment in some quarters for parking Gordon for the season finale at Homestead, but NASCAR chose to levy a $100,000 fine and placed Gordon on probation for the balance of the season.

A suspension would have undone plans by Gordon’s sponsor, DuPont, to celebrate 20 years on the No. 24 Chevrolet with a special paint scheme.

“I tried not to think about that,” Gordon said Friday at Homestead. “I know the folks at DuPont were worried about it. They put a lot into this paint scheme and planning. This has been out—really we’ve been talking about this for about 10 weeks, commemorating this moment with this car.

“Until I heard that they were worried about it, I wasn’t too concerned about it. I knew there would be fines and penalties, but I felt like I’d be in the seat of that DuPont Chevrolet this weekend.”

As it turned out, Gordon was right, and his 689th start will keep him one ahead of Bobby Labonte, who will take the green flag in his 688th straight Cup race on Sunday.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.