Jeff Gordon considering retirement after 2014 NASCAR season? Maybe

jutter@charlotteobserver.comJanuary 29, 2014 

0129RACEBEST_16

Jeff Gordon, left, got as high as third in points last season before finished sixth while seeking a fifth Cup title.

JEFF SINER — jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Could four-time Cup series champion Jeff Gordon step away from full-time competition after the 2014 season?

Maybe, Gordon said.

It might be a good bet if he were to celebrate another series championship in the season finale at Homestead, Fla.

“I will call it quits – I’ll tell you that right now – right there on the spot,” Gordon, 42, said during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour. “I think that would be a great way to go out.

“But I know if we did that, I’d be thinking, ‘Maybe we could do it again next year.’ So, don’t hold me to that. I’m jokingly serious.”

As Gordon has gotten older, he said it’s not uncommon to take time each season to consider his future.

“I’ve done everything I've wanted to do in sport. I want to go out feeling good about who I am and what I'm doing and being competitive,” he said. “Then you have a bad year and your back is hurting and you say things like” it might be my final year.

Ford looking for better year: Jamie Allison, director of Ford Racing, said he’s upbeat about the manufacturer’s prospects in the Cup series this season, despite having not won a series title since 2004.

Last year “is certainly not the season we had expected and certainly not the season that shows the potential of the Ford teams,” he said. “With the caliber of teams and championship drivers we have on our roster, our strength is our team and teamwork.

“That’s our emphasis in 2014 – teamwork. Certainly we’re going to be focused on the technical development in the area of aerodynamics, simulation and obviously with Doug Yates in engine development.

“At the end of the day it’s teamwork and working together, collaboration – that’s what’s going to take us to the next level.”

Three Ford drivers – Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Joey Logano – qualified for the Chase last season. Logano was the highest finisher in the standings (eighth).

New rules boost Chase chances: Bob Jenkins, owner of Front Row Motorsports, said Wednesday he believes the new format for the Chase, first reported Jan. 17 by the Observer, will be a big plus for a smaller, younger organizations like his.

“The new Chase format really favors a team like ours. It’s certainly a long shot, but if we could figure out a way to win another race this year, it elevates us potentially into the Chase and then we’d have to rethink everything,” Jenkins said.

“We’d obviously have to go out and do some crazy things to be more competitive in the Chase, but it does open the door to teams like ours to have some success and I think it’s good for the sport.”

David Ragan’s victory last spring at Talladega, Ala., was the organization’s first in the series.

Elliott enters ARCA race: Chase Elliott, who will run his first full season in the Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports, also has entered the Automobile Racing Club of America series opener at Daytona International Speedway.

“The biggest thing I see is having an opportunity to race at Daytona before the (Nationwide) race,” said Elliott, the son of former Cup champion Bill Elliott. “Getting used to how the draft works under race conditions and getting used to how spotting is going to go will be key as well.”

Stenhouse adds Cup sponsor: Nationwide Insurance will sponsor Cup series driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in seven races this season, including next month’s season-opening Daytona 500.

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