Jeff Gordon walked gingerly through the infield area at Phoenix International Raceway late Monday afternoon, about 24 hours after demolishing his No. 24 Chevrolet against an inside concrete retaining wall at Las Vegas.
His left elbow hurt, an ankle was sore and his stomach muscles burned. His neck had stretched a bit during the violent smack late in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race that shredded his car's front end and sent the radiator catapulting back onto the track.
Surprisingly, Gordon said, his neck wasn't too stiff.
"I'm moving a little slow today," said the four-time Cup champion, at PIR Monday and today for NASCAR-sanctioned testing. "I'm kind of sore all over."
That didn't stop Gordon from getting behind the wheel for Monday's afternoon and evening testing sessions.
A night's sleep, however, did give him a chance to cool down after he angrily criticized NASCAR and Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday night for not having SAFER barriers, or soft walls, on the inner portions of the 1-mile intermediate speedway.
His tone may have softened Monday afternoon, but his message remained the same.
"It's an unfortunate situation, but I hope that something good can come out of this situation where we recognize that those areas need to have soft walls for sure," he said. "That's all we can do at this point is look for the positives."
Just a few NASCAR Sprint Cup tracks - Daytona International Speedway, Dover International Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway - have implemented soft walls on some of their inner retaining walls, but Gordon said his hard hit against a solid concrete wall at high speed is proof NASCAR and its tracks need to rethink that safety issue.
NASCAR officials say they do just that. Each (SAFER barrier) system is custom designed for each track - they are under constant review and updated as needed," NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. "We'll work with (SAFER barrier developer) University of Nebraska and Las Vegas Motor Speedway to further examine the system at the track."
Las Vegas track officials said Monday they are evaluating the portion of wall that Gordon hit and would follow any recommendation from NASCAR concerning changes to the wall.
The No. 99 Ford of Carl Edwards, winner of Sunday's UAW-Dodge 400, passed final inspection late Sunday night, but NASCAR officials confiscated his car and sent it to its Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., after discovering the lid to his oil tank reservoir was missing.
Edwards could be penalized as early as today for the infraction, but it won't cost him the victory, NASCAR officials said.
It could cost Edwards the lead in the driver standings if he's docked points. He leads Kyle Busch by 21 points (491-470).
STIFF AND SORE
Tony Stewart, bothered by a sore back and bruised foot after his No. 20 Toyota smacked the Turn 4 SAFER barrier in Las Vegas Sunday, skipped Monday's morning test session at PIR but was back in his car for the afternoon and evening practices.
KIND OF A GRIND
NASCAR's western swing (Auto Club Speedway of Southern California, Feb. 22-24; Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Friday-Sunday; PIR testing Monday-today) has taken its toll on drivers and crews.
Several teams skipped Monday's morning testing, and many teams planned on skipping today's two sessions for an extra day's rest before heading to Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend. There were 47 teams at the track for testing, the fourth of six NASCAR-sanctioned tests this season.
Kasey Kahne, who pulled out of Saturday's Nationwide Series race with a sinus infection but drove to a seventh-place finish in Sunday's Sprint Cup 400-miler in Las Vegas, skipped Monday's testing to rest. His No. 9 Dodge was on the track, though, with Jason Keller driving.
Paul Menard, in the No. 15 Chevrolet, topped the morning speed charts with a lap of 27.442 seconds (131.186 mph). Clint Bowyer, driving Richard Childress Racing's No. 07A car, was fastest in the afternoon (27.645, 130.222)
Today's test sessions at PIR are closed to the public.