Jeff Gordon's engine expires to ensure winless season

It was a fitting end to Jeff Gordon's season.

Gordon's engine blew up during Sunday's Sprint Cup finale at Homestead-Miami, capping a year of relative struggle for the four-time champion's team.

Yes, Gordon made the Chase, but he didn't reach victory lane despite seemingly being in position to win numerous times. He got beat over the last two laps at Martinsville, crashed in a late race restart in the spring Texas race and was beaten on late race restarts at Phoenix and Richmond. Oh yeah, there was that altercation with Jeff Burton just two weeks ago at the fall Texas race.

It was the second winless season in the last three seasons for Gordon, who last won the 2009 spring race at Texas Motor Speedway after winning six races in 2007.

Gordon has publicly stood by crew chief Steve Letarte, but given that the No. 24 car slid backwards over the course of the race numerous times after great qualifying efforts, questions will undoubtedly arise about Letarte's future. And no, don't even think about Ray Evernham coming back to be Gordon's crew chief.

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