March News

Paying The Price
STP 500 - Martinsville Speedway. Finish: 9th

Jeff Gordon seemed to be in position for a top-5 finish -- if not a victory -- at Martinsville Speedway, but a late-race speeding penalty on pit road sent him to the rear of the field. He rallied back in the closing stages to finish in 9th place. It was his 3rd consecutive top-10 finish, which moved him up to 16th in the NASCAR points standings.

Gordon started 4th and ran there when the first caution waved on lap 11 for Trevor Bayne's spin. The second caution waved on lap 22 for Ricky Stenhouse's spin. On the restart, Gordon got hung on the outside line and slipped to 8th before getting in line behind Dale Earnhardt Jr. Gordon battled handling issues as Jamie McMurray and Kevin Harvick passed on lap 36. Loose handling hindered the #24 car as Gordon dropped to 13th on lap 42. He ran 15th when the next caution waved on lap 54 for JJ Yeley's wall contact. Pit stops followed with Gordon gained 2 spots and restarting in 13th place. A debris caution slowed the field on lap 74. Gordon gained a spot after Earnhardt Jr came to pit road. He moved to 11th on lap 90 when Ryan Newman was caught on the outside line. Matt Kenseth took a position from Gordon prior to a caution on lap 94 for Alex Kennedy's spin. Gordon came to pit road and restarted in 18th place. He fell to 19th on the outside line on lap 112, before regrouping to move back to 18th on lap 114. He patiently worked race traffic and moved up to 15th on lap 130. Gordon's forward march continued as he took 11th from Jamie McMurray on lap 150. A caution for Stenhouse's second spin on lap 164 brought pit stops. Gordon came to pit road for tires and restarted in 9th place. He used the inside line to his advantage and took 7th from Carl Edwards on lap 180.

He took 6th from Matt Kenseth on lap 190, but dropped the spot on lap 193. Gordon battled loose handling and slipped to 9th on lap 200. Gordon ran in 15th place when Stenhouse hit the wall to bring out a caution on lap 206. Pit stops followed with Gordon restarting in 18th place. He quickly moved into top-15 prior to a caution on lap 218 for Michael Annett's loss of control which collected Joey Logano. Gordon gained two more spots and restarted in 13th place on lap 223. He ran 12th when the next caution came on lap 228 for a chain reaction crash that collected Earnhardt Jr, Paul Menard, and Casey Mears. He restarted on the inside line in 11th place after David Gilliland came to pit road. On the restart, he took 10th from Trevor Bayne and moved to 9th at the halfway point. Denny Hamlin took a spot from Gordon on lap 253. As Hamlin cleared a path on the inside line, Gordon followed him past Martin Truex and Jamie McMurray. He took 7th from Clint Bowyer on lap 260. Gordon re-entered the top-5 on lap 267 when he passed Kasey Kahne and Matt Kenseth. A caution for Justin Allgaier on lap 270 brought pit stops. Gordon exited pit road in 6th place. He held 6th on the restart before the next caution for Regan Smith's spin in turn 3.

On the restart, Bowyer took a spot from Gordon who restarted on the outside line. Gordon fell in line in 7th behind Bowyer on lap 296. He regrouped and took the spot back from Bowyer on lap 302. Five laps later he re-entered the top-5 by passing Matt Kenseth. Gordon took 4th from Carl Edwards on lap 310 and closed on the top-3 of Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, and Kevin Harvick. He took 3rd from Keselowski on lap 318, and passed Hamlin for the runner-up spot on lap 328. However, he was passed by Kenseth on lap 329 and dropped to 5th as Keselowski and Hamlin went by. Two laps later, he followed Hamlin past Keselowski to take 4th place. The next caution came on lap 346 for Annett's wall contact. Pit stops followed with Gordon exiting in 4th place. He fell to 5th after the restart on the outside line before Kasey Kahne eased up to let him in line. The next caution came on lap 367 when Paul Menard spun in turn 4. Gordon restarted on the inside line and held onto 5th place. He closed in on Carl Edwards for 4th place on lap 400 and took the spot 4 laps later. With 80 to go, he moved around Kevin Harvick to take 3rd place. A caution on lap 433 for Edwards' spin brought the leaders to pit road.

Gordon exited in 2nd place for the final run to the finish. Kenseth opted for the outside line, which allowed Gordon to take the inside for the restart. Gordon took the race lead from Kenseth on lap 442. A debris caution with 41 to go slowed the field. Gordon came to pit road for tires and was 3rd coming off pit road. However, Gordon received a penalty for too fast entering pit road. After the penalty, he restarted in 21st place. He re-entered the top-20 with 25 laps to go. He gained 5 more spots to run 16th with 20 to go. He took 15th from Trevor Bayne on lap 483 and advanced to 12th with 10 to go. Gordon took 11th from Clint Bowyer with 5 to go, and re-entered the top-10 with 3 to go.

JG's comments
"I'm so disappointed in myself. I knew I was pushing the limit. I didn't think I had done anything different than I had all day long when I was behind other guys. I'm very, very disappointed. I felt like we finally got the car in a position to win that race. It was a struggle. We were battling with tire wear and the car getting really loose. I thought Denny Hamlin had the best car, but I thought with our track position at the end we had a shot at it. I'm so disappointed, I don't even know what to say right now. But, of course, then the car is like the absolute best it's been all day when I drive up from the back."

"He and I have been through so much over the years. That was like my gift for this year -- my going-away gift. We were racing earlier and I let him go to the inside and he kind of body-slammed me. So, on that restart, I was just pulling at straws because I wanted the inside. I asked (my spotter) if he'd ask Kenseth if he'd let me. That's the least he could do for body-slamming me. Somehow the message got across. That was way cool and it worked out pretty good for us."

Eye Ten
AUTO CLUB 400 - Auto Club Speedway. Finish: 10th

Brad Keselowski passed Kurt Busch heading into turn 1 of the final lap to win the Auto Club 400. Busch, who led the most laps, finished third after Kevin Harvick passed him coming to the finish line. Jeff Gordon battled handling issues for the balance of the day before a late race gamble gave him a chance to salvage a solid finish on a green/white/checkered restart. However, a caution necessitated a second restart which hurt his chances on older tires. Gordon's second consecutive top-10 finish moved him up to 22nd in the series points standings.

Gordon started 7th and dropped to 10th within three laps. As the tire pressures came up, Gordon advanced to 8th by lap 10. The first caution waved on lap 22 when Gordon pulled up behind David Ragan in turn 3, which sent the #18 car into a spin. Pit stops followed with Gordon exiting in 7th place. He battled handling during the run and fell to 11th on lap 35. Gordon stayed out to lead a lap during a green flag pit stop sequence before coming to pit road on lap 63. He cycled through in 14th place on lap 65, and advanced to 12th by lap 70. A debris caution slowed the field on lap 86 with Gordon in 13th place. Pit stops ensued with Gordon exiting in 17th place. He moved to 13th prior to a caution on lap 98 for Sam Hornish's wall contact. Gordon came to pit road for tires and adjustments, and restarted in 21st place.

Gordon got a strong restart and advanced to 16th on lap 110. One lap later he took 15th from Carl Edwards. His forward advancement continued as he took 12th from Tony Stewart on lap 120. He came to pit road for a green flag stop on lap 138 and cycled through in 12th place. A debris caution on lap 152 brought the leaders to pit road. Gordon restarted in 12th with 42 laps to go, and moved into the top-10 with 39 to go. However, he hit a proverbial wall and fell to 12th with 36 to go as Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman went by. With 25 to go, he dropped to 14th after Joey Logano passed. A debris caution with 15 to go brought pit stops. Gordon restarted in 12th with 11 laps to go. Gordon got a strong restart and moved into the top-10 within a lap. With 9 to go, he took 8th place. However, Kasey Kahne passed with 4 to go to send Gordon to 9th place. He dropped to 10th prior to a debris caution with 2 laps to go, which set up a green/white/checkered finish. Gordon opted to stay out and restarted with the race lead.

On the restart, Gordon dropped to 3rd as Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch went by. Debris on the backstretch brought a caution flag to set up another green/white/checkered restart. Gordon slipped back on the inside line and crossed the finish in 10th position.

To The Nines
CAMPING WORLD 500k - Phoenix International Raceway. Finish: 9th

It wasn't a victory, but a hard-fought 9th place effort for Jeff Gordon in the Camping World 500k at Phoenix International Raceway was his first top-10 finish of the season and moved him into the top-25 in the series points standings. Gordon struggled with handling at times during the event, but moved as high as 3rd place in the late stages. However, with 22 laps to go, Gordon pitted under caution for two tires. Most of the leaders stayed out and Gordon restarted in 11th place. He could only gain a couple of spots prior to the finish. At the front of the field, Kevin Harvick dominated once again en route to his second consecutive victory and the 30th win of his career.

Gordon started 10th and dropped to 12th by lap 20. He re-entered the top-10 with a move around Austin Dillon on lap 23. He gained one spot over the next 30 laps and ran in 9th place on lap 50. A debris caution on lap 67 brought the field to pit road. Gordon's crew changed four tires and held 9th place. However, he dropped to 12th on the inside line before working his way back into the top-10 on lap 95. Sam Hornish's cut tire and spin on lap 117 brought out the caution flag. Pit stops followed with Gordon taking four tires and restarting in 14th place. He moved to 12th by lap 130 and re-entered the top-10 on lap 141 with a move around Kyle Larson.

Gordon took advantage of the four tires by passing Kasey Kahne and Matt Kenseth to take 8th place on lap 155. He ran down Joey Logano to take 7th place on lap 176. A caution for Dale Earnhardt Jr's wreck slowed the field on lap 181. Gordon gained a spot on pit road and restarted in 6th. He quickly moved to 5th on the restart and took 4th from Ryan Newman on lap 198. However, Kurt Busch took a spot from Gordon prior to a debris caution on lap 200. On the restart, Gordon dropped to 6th when Jamie McMurray went by. A debris caution on lap 226 slowed the field and brought pit stops. Gordon took 2 tires and exited in 3rd place. He dropped to 4th prior to a caution on lap 235 for Tony Stewart's spin. Gordon took 3rd from Logano on the restart.

With 23 laps to go, Tony Stewart's cut tire brought out the caution. Gordon came to pit road for a 2-tire change and restarted in 11th place with 18 to go. Danica Patrick's spin brought the caution with 16 to go. The restart came with 13 laps to go. Gordon gained two spots prior to the end to finish 9th -- his best finish of the 2015 season.

JG's comments
"It was a really great team effort. A nice job in the pits. We had a decent race car and we showed that as we got track position. It certainly wasn't easy, but I'm real proud of everybody. There at the end it was just kind of a judgement call whether to come in and take tires or not. As it turned out that might not have worked in our favor, but hey, some of those are going to go your way and some of those aren't."

Damaged Goods
KOBALT 400 - Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Finish: 18th

Jeff Gordon's day at Las Vegas changed after the halfway point of the Kobalt 400. After working his way from the rear of the field into the top-10, Gordon made contact during a chain reaction incident and damaged the 3M Chevrolet. Gordon finished a lap down in 18th place, the first time he failed to post a top-15 finish in the first 3 races of a NASCAR season. He sits 30th in the series points standings.

Gordon captured the pole position for the event, but started in the rear of the field after damaging his primary car in a practice incident on Saturday. He made quick work of some of the backmarkers and ran 30th by the end of lap 10. He entered the top-25 on lap 16 with a move around Brian Vickers. Gordon advanced to 21st when the competition caution slowed the field on lap 25. Pit stops followed with Gordon taking 4 tires and restarting in 25th place. His forward march continued as he entered the top-20 on lap 38. However, he complained of a lack of rear grip and moved to 17th by lap 60. Gordon ran 16th when he came in for a green flag pit stop on lap 77. He cycled through in 18th place. A debris caution slowed the field on lap 81. Gordon opted to stay out and restarted in 14th place on lap 85. At the 100-lap mark, Gordon ran in 12th place. He moved to 11th prior to a green flag pit stop on lap 130.

At the halfway point, Gordon ran in 11th place. A caution flag on lap 140 brought Gordon to pit road for a 2-tire change, which moved him into the top-10 for the first time. Gordon restarted in 9th, but dropped out of the top-10 after getting held on the inside line by Paul Menard. He recovered to move to 11th by lap 12, and took 10th from Jamie McMurray on lap 154. Jimmie Johnson's cut tire and wall contact on lap 172 brought out the caution. Gordon made contact with Jeb Burton who slowed to avoid Johnson entering turn 1. Gordon's car sustained damage to the front of the car. The crew made repairs on pit road and Gordon restarted in 16th place. However, the damage impeded Gordon's progress and he slipped to 17th on lap 180 -- the last car on the lead lap. Johnson's second cut tire on lap 185 brought out the caution as Gordon dropped nearly a half lap behind the leaders. He came to pit road and the crew placed a larger patch over the front of the car. Gordon restarted in 18th place with 75 laps to go. A cauton for Carl Edwards and Kasey Kahne's on-track contact slowed the field with 72 to go,

Gordon once again came to pit road for additional repairs and restarted in 16th place. With 55 laps to go, Gordon dropped a half lap behind as he struggled with handling because of the damage. He stayed on the track longer than others during a green flag pit sequuence hoping to catch a caution, but eventually came to pit road with 11 laps to go. Gordon cycled through in 18th place, one lap down where he finished the event.

JG's comments
"Jimmie blew a right front tire. I was right behind Jeb (Burton) getting ready to make a move on him. I wasn't sure if I was going to go inside or outside. All of a sudden he started checking up. I thought he was doing it to let me go by him. I didn't realize until right at that moment when my spotter said something that Jimmie was having a problem, and then I ran in the back of him. It ruined the front. It ruined our day. The car just wouldn't go down the straightaway, and then was real tight. Man, we were coming. We had one weird set of tires. We drove up there right at the beginning. The car was amazing on rails. The next set of tires the thing was just terrible loose. So, we made an adjustment and then the car went back to being tight. So, I don't know what happened there. That got us off a little bit. But, great effort. Just can't believe the way these days are going."

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