Jeff Gordon made a revealing comment in his post-race interviews on Sunday: the four-time champion and second-place finisher told radio and TV reporters that his closing-laps pursuit of Matt Kenseth made for great, exciting racing.
I suppose that, by definition, turning laps at 175 miles per hour is legitimately considered exciting. I suppose, too, that stalking your prey, struggling to develop a solution to a difficuilt problem, and just generally trying to overtake the leader might make for excitement. But for the rest of us not so fortunate to be sitting in the driver’s seat? Watching Gordon’s futile effort was fairly dull.
Is that a byproduct of TV coverage that focuses disproportionately on the leaders? Perhaps, but more to the point, Sunday’s race offered very little in the way of actual, side-by-side, head-to-head racing. Rather, it was a series of three, perhaps four chapters, the first dominated by Jimmie Johnson, the second by Gordon, and the third by Matt Kenseth (if there was a fourth, I’m either forgetting it or unconsciously blocking it — oh, wait, I got it: the rain).
On some levels, I can agree with Gordon and I can even appreciate the quiet excitement of the cat-and-mouse game he attempted to execute as Sunday’s race wound down. However, and all due respect to Gordon, to certify that race exciting is a bit further than I’m willing to go.