|Jeff Gordon could have punted Hamlin for win, but was too nice (Getty)|
HAMPTON, Ga.—Jeff Gordon didn’t race just for the win Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He was racing for a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Gordon didn’t quite get there, and his second-place finish behind Denny Hamlin was somewhat of a hollow finish. He still doesn’t control his own destiny entering the final race before the Chase field is set.
On the final lap of the green-white-checkered finish in the Advocare 500, Gordon nearly got beside Hamlin before Hamlin was able to clear him and speed to the win.
“I’m just mad at myself right now,” Gordon said. “I guess I’m just getting soft in my old age. I’m too nice because … 15 years ago, I would have just moved him right up the racetrack.
“I don’t know why I didn’t do that. I thought I could get to his quarter panel and slow him down and stay there. But I got there, I just carried too much speed into (Turn) 3 and it pushed up the racetrack.”