May News

Right Track
COCA-COLA 600 - Charlotte Motor Speedway. Finish: 7th

Gordon started 23rd and moved to 16th by lap 10. He took 13th from AJ Allmendinger on lap 13 as his forward march continued. He entered the top-10 on lap 24 with a pass on Kevin Harvick, and then took 8th from Denny Hamlin on lap 35. Green flag pit stops came on lap 47 with Gordon cycling through in 9th place. He moved up to 8th before the next round of green flag stops on lap 90. The first caution waved on lap 112 for debris. Pit stops followed with Gordon restarting in 11th place. However, he slid back to 15th within a lap before regrouping. On lap 130, Gordon ran in 12th place before a debris caution slowed the field. Gordon stayed on the track and inherited the lead. He dropped to 4th within a lap of the restart, but held the position before coming to pit road on lap 167. A caution on lap 170 resulted in Gordon being a lap down. However, he stayed on the the track for the free pass to get back on the lead lap.

Gordon restarted 24th and worked back to 15th by the halfway point. With 100 to go, Gordon ran in 6th place. He slipped to 9th with 50 to go, but took 8th from Carl Edwards with 23 to go. He made a late pass on Harvick to take 7th and score his best finish since Texas -- a span of 5 races. Gordon moved from 24th to 22nd in the series standings.

Turning point
Gordon's car seemed best during the dusk hours. As darkness enveloped the track, Gordon battled handling issues and was unable to make a serious charge toward the front.

JG's comments
"Our car was very, very fast. We showed that right from the drop of the green. We struggled a little bit in practice and a little bit in the All-Star race, so we had some concerns, but I felt like the car had something good in it all weekend and it showed up in the race. I was happy. Again, we stayed out that time, came in for four and showed we had a really fast car and the caution came out. I think I passed more cars out there, for sure.

ďOh yeah. I think this is a great team-building race for us. The car was good. I had fun. Even though we had some things that didnít go exactly the way we needed them to get that top five or maybe even the win, we still showed that we had a great car, strong team, great pit stops. To me, it was a really good effort."

SOUTHERN 500 - Darlington Raceway. Finish: 35th

Jimmie Johnson pulled away on the final restart to win the 200th NASCAR Cup series race for Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson's triumph in the Southern 500 was his 56th career win, which moved him into 8th place on the all-time list. Johnson and Jeff Gordon have combined for 141 of the 200 wins (70 percent) for the organization.

As for Gordon's night at Darlington, it was another race to forget. Gordon started 12th and moved into the top-10 within the first 3 laps. He took 9th from Regan Smith on lap 23 and moved around Ryan Newman for 8th by lap 35. Gordon brushed the wall on lap 42, but held the 8th position. Gordon ran 9th following a round of green flag pit stops at the 50-lap mark. He regained the 8th spot by lap 60, but was battling a tight handling condition. Gordon pitted under green at the 100-lap mark and returned to the race in 8th. The next round of stops came on lap 147. Gordon passed Denny Hamlin for 7th on lap 160. A debris caution on lap 172 slowed the field and brought pit stops. Gordon dropped to 9th on lap 190 and then came to pit road with a flat left rear tire. Gordon fell off the lead lap due to the pit stop, before a caution for debris. Gordon restarted in 25th place and gained a spot within two laps. Gordon dropped off the pace on lap 205 with another cut in the left rear tire. He came to pit road for tires and pulled into the garage for extensive repairs. He returned to the race 28 laps down in 35th place and dropped to 24th in the series standings.

Turning point
A cut tire on lap 191 was the beginning of the end for Gordon and the #24 team at Darlington.

Downward Spiral
AARON'S 499 - Talladega Superspeedway. Finish: 33rd

Not even a pole position could change Jeff Gordon's bad luck in 2012. Gordon was caught up in a wreck with 45 laps to go at Talladega Superspeedway and finished 33rd. It was his seventh finish of 21st or worse in the last 12 races. He lost six spots in the series points standings and is now 23rd -- the lowest after 10 races in his NASCAR career.

Gordon started on the pole and dropped to 6th on the opening lap before his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne picked him up in the draft. On lap 6, Gordon moved to the high line and dropped back to 28th place in an effort to cool the engine. By lap 10, he was running 30th and seemed content to stay out of the lead pack. The first caution waved on lap 16 for Regan Smith's blown engine. Gordon restarted 19th and locked into a draft with Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. The trio moved into the top-10 by lap 25, but separated within 5 laps. Gordon dropped to 15th before regrouping on the outside line. He worked with Marcos Ambrose and moved to 2nd place on lap 53. He came to pit road for a green flag pit stop on lap 59 and opted for left side tires. Following stops, Gordon ran in 3rd place behind Earnhardt Jr and Matt Kenseth.

On lap 75, he opted not to give Earnhardt Jr a drafting push and radioed to his crew about evening the tally with his "teammate" -- a reference to getting hung out in the draft earlier in the race. On lap 85, Gordon dropped back after his water temperature began spiking. He ran in 28th before green flag pit stops on lap 101. Gordon took right side tires and returned to the race in 8th place.

With 45 laps to go, a melee in turn three collected Gordon when he went low to miss it. Martin Truex came down the track and hit the side of the #24 team. Gordon drilled the outside wall with the right front of the car and drove to the garage area with his second DNF of the season.

Turning point
A melee in turn three with 45 laps to go ended Gordon's day at Talladega.

JG's comments
"This is one of the most bizarre years this team has ever gone through. It's almost comical at this point. It looked like someone came down and got Martin and that turned him into me. That's just the way our season has been going."

Talladega Pole Run
May 5 - - Jeff Gordon claimed the pole position for Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. It was his 71st career pole and marks 20 consecutive years that Gordon has won a pole in the Cup series -- tying David Pearson for the most consecutive seasons with a pole. "Hopefully we can build on this," Gordon said. "I know it's not a win, but it's still something good to show that the team's efforts don't go unnoticed... When you get torn down it puts you to the test as an individual and as a team. We've been put to the test this year. But we've not wavered."

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