Jeff Gordon 2014 Stats: Points Finish 6th, 3 Poles, 4 Wins, 14 Top Fives, 23 Top Tens, Average Running Position 9.0, Average Finish 10.4, Laps Led 1,083, Driver Rating 110.2
Strengths – 2015 will be Jeff Gordon’s final season racing full-time and I think that’s going to lead to everyone involved with the #24 team stepping up their game to complete “The Drive for 5”.
Last season Jeff Gordon was strong across the different track types. He had the best average finish (10.4) and the best average running position (10.4). Look for his best days to come at intermediate tracks, short tracks, big flat tracks and Sonoma.
Weaknesses – Jeff Gordon had the best year he’s had in a while in 2014 and I think it will be hard for him to repeat his level of performance. In terms of avoiding him at certain tracks I would recommend not using him at Watkins Glen and restrictor plate tracks.
Track Type Fantasy Value Key = Elite > High > Moderate > Low
Intermediate Track Fantasy Value – Elite
In the 17 races on intermediate tracks last season Jeff Gordon scored the most points, won three races, had twelve top tens and only once finished outside the top twenty. His one finish outside the top twenty was the fall Texas race and if it wasn’t for the late caution he likely would’ve won. His driver rating on this track type also ranked as the best in the series. On intermediate tracks Jeff Gordon’s apparent strength over the last couple of season’s is being good over long runs.
In 2015 I think it will be hard for him to match his level of success on this track type but he should still be an elite performer.
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Flat Track Fantasy Value – Elite
Flat tracks have been great venues for Jeff Gordon throughout his career. On this track type I like him more at the big flat tracks. Last season at Indy he won his 5th race and clearly had the best car. At that venue he has an 8.4 average result and almost always finishes near the front. His top five finish percentage there is 57% percent and his top ten finish percentage is 81% percent. Including last year’s race at Indy he currently has four straight top tens.
Jeff Gordon has mastered the “Tricky Triangle”. He’s won there 8 times and since the track was repaved he has the second best driver rating, an 8.0 average finish and a 9.3 average running position. Last season he had results of 6th and 8th.
Jeff Gordon hasn’t had magic at the “Magic Mile” recently. In 2014 he ran well in both races but finished 26th twice. I will note in both races he had top five potential but neither event was incident free for him at the end. In the fall he got into the wall late and in July he ran out of gas late. In fall 2013 he was also top five good but a pit road mistake proved costly. Prior to that event he had four straight top tens.
Jeff Gordon appeared to have Phoenix figured out last year. He finished in the top five both events and had results of 2nd and 5th. In 2013 he finished 9th and 14th.
Short Track Fantasy Value – Elite
Jeff Gordon is an elite short track driver. He’s more than capable of running well at all three of them and competing for wins. Last season on this track type he scored the second most points and had a 6.8 average finish.
His best short track without question is Martinsville where he’s been to victory lane eight times. Last fall Jeff Gordon arguably had the best car. In that event he led 130 laps and finished 2nd. In spring 2014 he had a strong showing but a pit call to get him out of sequence led to him damaging his car while in traffic. When the checkered flag waved he finished 12th. In 2013 Gordon had results of 1st and 3rd.
At Richmond Jeff Gordon has been a strong performer who’s streaky. Right now he’s in a good stretch so pick him while he’s hot. Last season he finished 2nd in both events. In the last 5 Richmond races he has a 5.0 average finish and the second best driver rating.
Jeff Gordon’s good at Bristol but he runs into problems from time to time. Last August he ran very well early but after contact with Kurt Busch while running in the top five his car was never the same. When the checkered flag waved he finished 16th after leading 17 laps. Prior to that event he had back to back 7th place finishes. In spring 2013 Gordon arguably had the best car but he had a flat while leading and it totaled his car. Prior to that event he finished 3rd.
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Restrictor Plate Track Fantasy Value – High
Jeff Gordon has been extremely successful at restrictor plate tracks throughout his career and he has six wins at each venue. I view him as a driver who’s more than capable of coming home with a good result but he can’t be counted on to do that consistently.
At Daytona last season Jeff Gordon performed relatively well. He finished 4th in the Daytona 500 and 12th in July. In 3 of his 4 Daytona races prior to 2014 he finished 20th or worse. His last pair of consecutive top tens at Daytona were in 2007. His last Daytona win was in 2005.
Talladega was tough on him last season. He was strong in the spring but was involved in the “Brad Keselowski” big one. In the fall he drove ultra-conservative and finished 26th trying to avoid a wreck because of his point’s situation. In 2013 at Dega he had results of 11th and 14th. In fall 2012 he avoided the carnage on the last lap from the “Tony Stewart blocking big one” and finished 2nd.
Road Course Track Fantasy Value – High
Jeff Gordon is going into the NASCAR history books as one of the best road course racers ever. Between the two venues he has 9 wins.
At Sonoma he’s been to victory lane five times and is close to “money in the bank” with his 8.0 average finish. Since 1995 Gordon’s only finished outside the top ten twice and both of those results were due to problems. Currently at that west coast venue he has back to back second place finishes and 9 straight top tens.
Watkins Glen is why Jeff Gordon’s not an elite driver on this track type. It’s been a thorn in his side and since 2002 he’s only finished in the top ten twice and has eight finishes of 21st or worse. Last year at Watkins Glen he looked very good. He started on the pole, led 29 laps but had a power failure while leading which led to him getting pushed behind the wall. In 2013 he was involved in a wreck and finished 35th. At Watkins Glen Jeff Gordon has four career wins but his last was in 2001. That also marks his last finish better than 9th.