"You can try all you want to try to move past the moment, but man, it just ate me up inside all week," he said. "I just kept going back and forth about the decisions that I made and wishing I had made different decisions to backing up reasons why I made the decisions I made, and I just kept going back and forth from being disappointed, being angry, feeling that I had a right. I didn't have a right. So that just ate me up all week.
"…In our team meeting before the race; I apologized to those guys for some of the things that transpired that they had to get involved with that wasn't their doing last week, and I put them in that position, and I apologized to them and I thanked them at the same time for having my back.
"That's the kind of team that we've been this year. We've had to have one another's backs because we've all made mistakes this year. And so to be able to celebrate with them in Victory Lane was very special, very meaningful, and gives a tremendous amount of momentum to go into 2013 with the new race car."
For all his ups and downs, Gordon edged Martin Truex for 10th place in the Cup standings by four points.
Regan's new crew chief
Greg Ives will be the crew chief for driver Regan Smith for the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series season, JR Motorsports general manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller announced Tuesday.
Ives was the race engineer for Jimmie Johnson's run of five consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships from 2006-2010.
Smith was victorious in his JR Motorsports debut Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, driving the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet to a win in the season finale, marking the first win for Smith in 103 series starts.
"Regan's win on Saturday and the announcement of Greg's hiring today are huge momentum boosts for this company going into the off-season," owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. "Greg comes highly regarded. He has been a huge part of the 48 team's success, and this is a good opportunity for him to get his feet wet as a crew chief. The partnership between JR Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports gives us the opportunity to help employees advance their careers while still keeping them in the family, so to speak."
The season has been a long grind for all involved, but there remains one order of business: Champion's Week in Las Vegas. The top 10 drivers and their teams will be on hand for the awards ceremony on Nov. 30 at the Wynn, culminating five days of assorted activities.