Jeff Gordon, driving the #24 3M Chevrolet, celebrated his first-career pole at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Friday night, but the Hendrick Motorsports’ driver will start from the rear of the field for the Kobalt 400 on Sunday, after an on track crash.
With the clock running down in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series final practice on Saturday, the #24 Chevrolet suffered damage to the nose and right rear of the car after contact with Danica Patrick’s #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet. Patrick spun her car exiting Turn 2 with 30 second left in Saturday’s final practice in front of Gordon, who did not have time to react before he slammed into the #10 car of Patrick, forcing him into a backup car for Sunday’s 267-lap race.
“Danica spun and we hit her,” a frustrated Gordon said over his radio.
Gordon would not speak with the media after the on track incident, but he expressed his disappointment via Twitter. Gordon was the 14th fastest in the practice session, prior to the accident.
The backup car Gordon will use for Sunday’s race was previously raced in 2014 at Chicagoland Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway, but with the final practice ending, the Hendrick team did not get an opportunity to run any practice laps in the backup car.
The #18 M&M’s Crispy Toyota ran up too high into the Turn 2 corner and made contact with the outside wall causing significant damage to the #18 of David Ragan, who is substituting for Kyle Busch. With damage to the right rear, the Joe Gibbs Racing team was forced to pull out the backup car, relinquishing his 13th starting position.
Jimmie Johnson ended the final session resting on top of the leader-board with a lap time of 28.779 seconds or 187.637 mph. Johnson ran 47 laps, the most of any driver, during the 55 minute practice session. Johnson, who will start ninth for the Kobalt 400 on Sunday, also posted the fastest speed during the first practice session.
The Kobalt 400 will be broadcast on Fox at 3:30 p.m. ET, Sunday, March 8.