Gordon explains decision to not bring Logano down pit road for tire rub

Nigel Kinrade/NKPPhoto

By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

On Tuesday, Todd Gordon, crew chief for Joey Logano in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, went on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive” to explain his decision to not bring Logano down pit road for a tire rub.

With 13 laps remaining in the First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway, Logano received a tire rub after he made contact with Kyle Busch. Logano spent four laps running with the rub, in hopes it would go away. Unfortunately, the rub did not go away and Logano spun with nine laps remaining. His teammate, Brad Keselowski, was leading the race.

Gordon regrets leaving Logano out in the racing action and potentially taking away Keselowski’s chance to compete for a championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“I made a poor call in not getting him to pit road before that tire got cut down. It impacted our teammate’s day. I am regretful for that. I wish I could have that call over, but we make calls in 60 seconds at times and don’t always have all facts in our head. I failed with that one. It took a potential clinching spot from my teammate. I am really sorry for that situation and thought process.”

Gordon saw their strong run at Martsinsville as a place where Logano and the No. 22 team could build some momentum going forward. He felt that Logano runs and gets really well.

As a crew chief, the goal is to assess the situation presented. Gordon did that, but by the time the decision was made, the damage was already done.

“At the time Kyle got into us, we were third. The 24 was playing defense against us trying to pass him for second. I only got a couple glimpses of it. It was smoking. At first, the first lap and a half of that, I wasn’t sure how bad it was. As I saw it, I didn’t know with a few laps left whether it was an external rub on the tire contact patch. The smoke kinda clouds it a little bit for me.

Honestly, looking at the fact that it was just a tire rub, that we might sacrifice a top-five finish out of the day. As we saw it get worse and got worse, we were in a position where we had cars in the inside of us.  I didn’t call him to pit road from the outside lane. By the time we got to the bottom, it blew in one and two.”

Gordon had the bigger picture of this race being a momentum-builder in his head, which resulted in him missing the call.

“I should have called him in earlier with the grander picture in my head. I missed the call. I own that. Brad had a dominant car all day and was in a great position. I wish you could take those things back, but you can’t. My focus was on a momentum builder for our team.”

Gordon will take the final 13 laps as an opportunity to learn how to better prepare himself the next time a similar situation will arise. Quickly, Gordon talked to Paul Wolfe, crew chief for Keselowski, about his shortcoming, but believes they will move on from it.

It’s a heat of the moment decision. I have talked to Paul about. I shared with him my shortcomings and thought process. I think we are good with where we are at. Obviously, he was disappointed with it, as he should be. I would be upset if he weren’t upset. This is a passionate sport. We are all trying to do great things. It’s something we will move on from.”

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