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May News


Hard Fought Seven
COCA-COLA 600 - Charlotte Motor Speedway. Finish: 7th

Recap
Jeff Gordon finished a hard fought 7th in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Gordon battled back spasms in the days prior to the race and had Regan Smith standing by in case a relief driver was needed. Smith never put on his uniform as Gordon completed all 600 miles -- and nearly scored his 90th career win in the process.

Gordon started 27th and moved into the top-20 within 10 laps. He entered the top-15 with a pass on Justin Allgaier on lap 27. Gordon moved up to 11th prior to a round of green flag pit stops on lap 48. Gordon Cycled through in 12th place. He entered the top-10 on lap 60 with a pass on Denny Hamlin. By lap 80, Gordon had advanced to 8th place as the #24 car exceled on the longer run. He came to pit road for tires and fuel on lap 92 and cycled through in 7th place. The first caution waved on lap 109 and brought pit stops. Gordon restarted 6th on lap 114 and took 5th from Dale Earnhardt Jr on lap 115. He took 4th from Matt Kenseth on lap 117. A debris caution on lap 149 brought the leaders to pit road. Gordon slipped to 6th place on lap 155 before a caution for David Gilliland's cut tire and wall contact. Gordon restarted 8th on lap 168 after opting for four tires. He worked race traffic and moved into the top-5 on lap 183. One lap later he took 4th from Brian Vickers. Earnhardt Jr then passed Gordon on lap 195 for position. At the halfway point, Gordon ran in 5th place.

Gordon took 4th from Brad Keselowski on lap 205 and moved to 3rd around Earnhardt Jr on lap 210. Gordon led a lap during a green flag pit stop sequence on lap 213. Following stops, Gordon ran in 4th place. A debris caution on lap 222 slowed the field. He came to pit road and restarted in 10th place on lap 227. He advanced to 9th prior to a caution on lap 235 for Marcos Ambrose's spin. Gordon took 8th from Kyle Busch on lap 246 and moved to 7th on lap 250. As the run progressed, he took 6th from Joey Logano on lap 257 and re-entered the top 5 on lap 261. He passed Jimmie Johnson for position and moved to the runner-up spot on lap 272. A caution for Kurt Busch slowed the field on lap 274. Gordon pitted for tires and restarted 3rd on lap 280. However, he slipped to 5th after the restart as Logano and Martin Truex went by. The next caution waved at lap 285 for Danica Patrick's blown engine. At the 300-lap mark, Gordon ran in 7th place. He took 6th from Kyle Busch on lap 314 and moved to 5th by lap 320. Gordon came to pit road for green flag stop on lap 330.

Gordon cycled through in 3rd place and began closing on race leaders Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth with less than 50 laps to go. He came to pit road for a green flag stop with 25 to go. The crew changed two tires and Gordon emerged from the pit sequence ahead of Johnson and Kenseth on the track. Alex Bowman's cut tire slowed the field with 21 to go. Gordon inherited the lead when Carl Edwards came to pit road for tires and fuel. On the restart with 17 to go, Kenseth got momentum on the outside line and took the race lead. Johnson took 2nd from Gordon with 15 to go. Edwards and Harvick moved around Gordon with 12 to go and McMurray pushed him back to 6th with 10 to go. As the laps wound down, the two tires hindered Gordon and he dropped to 7th by the checkered flag.

Turning point
A late two-tire change gave Gordon a chance to win the race. However, a caution flag allowed Kenseth to restart alongside Gordon with four tires.

JG's comments
The procedures and the different work in therapy that I did helped. There's quite a few people who were tending to me and I appreciate every one of them. I don't think I would have gotten through this long race. It was tough. I was aching in there. There was one time I got on the brakes and it triggered something. I didn't know what was going to happen after that. But it settled down. We had such a great race car. I love the call at the end, just like the call that was made when we won the 1st race here (1994). I don't know if I could have held off Matt, but we were going to give him a heck of a run. The car was pretty good right there. It was just a matter of whether it was going to tighten up over 20-something laps. I got a decent restart, but when Matt got to my outside I got loose. At that point I was a sitting duck. It was a good effort. I'm happy that I got through it. It tells me a lot about what kind of (pain) threshold I have. I just want to show this team the kind of commitment I have to them because of what they've shown me this year."


Smashed Night
ALL-STAR RACE - Charlotte Motor Speedway. Finish: 17th

Recap
Jeff Gordon's frustration in the All Star Race continued with a lap 61 crash which eliminated him from contention. Gordon has not posted a top-10 finish in NASCAR's annual All Star showcase since 2006.

Gordon started 4th and took 3rd from Kevin Harvick on lap 11. He took the runner-up spot from Carl Edwards on lap 14 and finished the first 20-lap segment behind Kyle Busch. Gordon opted for four tires on the pit stop and started 7th at the start of the second 20-lap segment. He moved to 5th on lap 23 and took 4th from Kurt Busch on lap 24. One lap later, he dove to the inside entering turn 1 to take 3rd from Brad Keselowski. On lap 27, Kyle Busch spun and collected Joey Logano, which eliminated both drivers. On the restart on lap 31, Gordon dropped to 5th prior to AJ Allmendinger's crash on the backstretch. On the next restart, Gordon was held up by Denny Hamlin on the inside line and dropped to 7th. He concluded the second segment in 7th place.

Gordon took four tires during the pit stop sequence and started 12th in segment three. He moved to 10th on lap 47 with a move around Greg Biffle and took 8th from Martin Truex on lap 49. He concluded the third segment in 8th place. Once again, Gordon opted for four tires during the pit stop between segments and started in 11th place for segment four. His night concluded on lap 61 when he slowed and moved up the track. Martin Truex got into the rear of Gordon's car, which sent the #24 car into the wall with heavy right side damage. Gordon pulled to the garage for an early end to his night.

Turning point
A suspension failure sent Gordon up the track and into the wall on lap 61.

JG's comments
"Something broke in the front end either a tire or something in the suspension. I was just going down the back straightaway. As I started to get into the corner, I felt the front end set down and just started going straight. I hate that we caught other guys up that were on the outside of me. But man what an awesome car we had tonight... We had the car to do it tonight, we didn't have many breaks go our way. The 11 staying out, that killed us in the second segement. We got behind him a bunch. Every time he was weaving, we were behind him. But what an awesome car we had. It was super fast. We could go to the high side, middle, bottom. We were looking forward to the average working out if we could have made some ground up in that run, but unfortunately not to be for us tonight. I'm still just loving driving these race cars, they're so good."


Victory In Kansas
5-HOUR ENERGY 400 - Kansas Speedway. Finish: 1st

Recap
Jeff Gordon scored his 89th career win in the 5-Hour Energy 400 at Kansas Speedway. Gordon battled back from an ill-timed caution flag on lap 111 which put him deep in the field. He moved ahead of Kevin Harvick after the final green flag pit stop sequence with 30 laps to go and edged Harvick by 0.11-seconds for the win. It was Gordon's 3rd victory at Kansas, and he essentially clinched a spot in the 2014 Chase for the Championship.

Gordon started 13th and moved into the top-10 within 8 laps. He advanced to 7th by lap 20 and took 6th from Kurt Busch on lap 23. Gordon stayed out to lead a lap during a cycle of green flag pit stops on lap 44. Clint Bowyer's spin brought out the first caution on lap 47. Gordon restarted in 6th place on lap 52. The second caution came on lap 60 for a multi-car crash involving David Ragan, Landon Cassill, Michael Annett, and Ryan Truex. Gordon stayed on the track and restarted in 5th on lap 65. He took 4th from Carl Edwards on lap 70 prior to the next caution for Denny Hamlin's spin. After the restart, Gordon tracked down race leader Kevin Harvick and moved to the runner-up spot. Gordon came to pit road for a green flag stop on lap 100. Marcos Ambrose's spin on lap 111 brought the caution, which briefly trapped Gordon a lap down. He took the wave-around during the caution period to get back on the lead lap. Gordon restarted in 18th place on lap 119.

He struggled to make headway and ran 17th when the caution waved on lap 151 for Jamie McMurray's crash. Gordon came to pit road for tires and restarted in 15th place. He quickly moved to 13th on lap 162 and took 11th from Brian Vickers on lap 170. Gordon re-entered the top-10 on lap 173 with a move around Ryan Newman. He ran 9th when the caution waved on lap 180 for Kurt Busch's spin. Gordon opted for two tires and restarted in 8th place. The next caution came on lap 186 for a hard wreck involving David Gilliland and Justin Allgaier. The restart came on lap 194 with Gordon in 8th place. He immediately took 7th from Danica Patrick and passed Kasey Kahne for 6th on lap 198. Kurt Busch brought another caution with a spin on lap 202. Gordon stayed out and restarted in 5th place. He took 4th from Kyle Busch with 59 to go and moved to 3rd around Dale Earnhardt Jr with 56 to go. Gordon moved back into the runner-up spot with a move around Joey Logano with 48 to go.

Gordon steadily closed in on Harvick for the race lead. He chopped Harvick's lead down to 1.5 seconds prior to a green flag pit stop with 30 laps to go. Following stops, Gordon moved ahead of Harvick and extended to more than 1-second in front. He re-assumed the race lead with 9 laps to go.

Turning point
Gordon came to pit road in 2nd place for the final green flag pit stops with 30 laps to go. After the cycle of stops, Gordon had taken the race lead from Kevin Harvick who waited one lap later than Gordon to make his final stop.

JG's comments
"I knew we had a fast race car. We have been bringing fast race cars every single weekend. It's just given me so much confidence in the race cars and the race team. I have got to thank Axalta Coating Systems they are an awesome sponsor. When the lights went out we could still see this thing out there. You know Kevin (Harvick) was tough. He was so strong I did not know if I could hold him off. I almost didn't there at the end. I caught traffic. The car just got extremely loose on me and he was just coming. Luckily that was the checkered flag. I've got to say Happy Mother's Day. What an amazing Mother's Day present this is going to be. I can't wait to see my wife Ingrid and my mom tomorrow. It's going to be an amazing celebration. What a huge weight lifted off this team's shoulders. We have been leading the points but we needed to get to Victory Lane and they proved they were capable of it. Great job by them."

WHAT WAS THE KEY TO WINNING THIS RACE?
"I think it was overcoming a lot of adversity. We had a lot of things in the first half of the race that did not go our way. We knew we had a fast race car. We weren't sure if we had as good of a race car as Kevin (Harvick), but I thought if we got in front of him we could hold him off. Then that last pit stop I mean we cycled out in front of Kevin and it was confusing because there were guys still out there so we were in the lead. I pulled away from him. The car was just driving unbelievably and then all of a sudden I started getting extremely loose. He faded but then he kept coming back on me. Then my car would tighten up and I would go forward again and then he would fade. We just kept going back and forth, but the key was getting out front and this pit crew and Alan Gustafson and all these engineers, everybody at Hendrick Motorsports they actually won this race. We have been building up to this all season long."

ON HIS RUN:
"I don't know what it is about this team, this No. 24 car and us here at Kansas on inaugural nights or days but I love this place, such a great race track. Some of the best race fans we have, so thanks to them for coming here for a Saturday night race before Mother's Day. What an incredible job by this Axalta Coatings Systems No. 24 race team. I'm just so proud of them. They have been giving me the best race cars all year long. I have been having so much fun. Iím going to be 43 (years old) this year and I feel like I'm 25 again. That is the way they make me feel. Credit goes to them not only for the race cars, but the pit stops and just sticking with it tonight. We had a lot of things that didn't go our way in the first half and then in the second half we just stuck with it. We were just grinding it out and then that last pit stop got us out front and it was awesome."

IT LOOKED LIKE FOR YOU GUYS THIS RACE HAD JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING IN IT:
"It really did. It was great to see the groove widen out and get a top groove going and a bottom groove and a middle groove. It was a lot of fun racing out there. Kevin (Harvick) was really strong. I felt like there were times that if I could get in front of him I thought we could keep him behind us and we had to prove that there at the end. I almost didn't do it. Luckily we got to the start/finish line ahead of him, but congratulations to him. The relationship that we have at Hendrick with Stewart-Haas is a very tight one that we share a lot of information. Those guys have been so strong. We have been strong, it's fun to go out there and race those guys for a win like that."

NOW THAT YOU HAVE THIS WIN ALL THE FRUSTRATION FROM BEING SO CLOSE CAN GO AWAY NOW: "Well that is where being coming up on 43 (years old) can pay off because I've got a lot of patient (laughs). To me, yeah there were moments of frustration like California when we were leading on the last lap and the caution came out and we finished deep in the field. That was frustrating. There have been a few moments this year where it has been frustrating but all in all it's been more excitement and just pride in the team and just having fun driving fast race cars. I knew it was just a matter of time. I didn't know if it was going to happen tonight I will be honest. We were kind of catching Kevin (Harvick) there before the last pit stop and then we took four tires and I didn't know how it was going to all cycle out when we were out in front of them. I was like 'boy this is not going to be easy to hold him off.'"


Instant Trouble
AARON'S 499 - Talladega Superspeedway. Finish: 39th

Recap
As is the case with racing at Talladega Superspeedway, one mistake by another driver can end a promising day in seconds. Jeff Gordon was taken out of contention on lap 136 when Brad Keselowski spun into his line. Gordon posted a 39th place finish -- his worst finish since Michigan in June 2013.

Gordon started 11th and stayed on the inside line in the opening stages. He ran behind Danica Patrick and drafted with her into the top-5. On lap 8, Gordon moved to the middle and led the event with a drafting push from Carl Edwards. The first caution waved on lap 14 when Brad Keselowski made contact with Patrick and spun entering turn 1. Gordon came to pit road for two tires and restarted in 3rd place. However, Gordon was caught in the middle lane and dropped to 11th by lap 23. Ten laps later he worked his way back into the top-5 on the outside line. By lap 50, he ran in 8th place prior to a debris caution. Pit stops followed with Gordon opting for four tires. Problems on the pit road dropped Gordon to 22nd in the running order for the restart. He moved up to 12th by lap 58 as he locked into a draft behind Trevor Bayne. Gordon re-entered the top-10 on lap 60. However, as is normally the case at Talladega, Gordon slipped to 15th in a drafting line by lap 65.

On lap 75, Gordon dropped back in the draft to 33rd place. He fell to 39th on lap 78 as he stayed behind the lead pack. He stayed in the rear of the field and ran 40th on lap 85. A round of green flag pit stops came on lap 96 with Gordon opting for two tires. At the 100-lap mark, Gordon ran in 18th place in the draft. A debris caution slowed the field on lap 105. Gordon restarted 32nd after getting boxed in his pit stall. He remained in the rear of the field after the restart and was content to log laps at the tail end of the draft. On lap 130, Gordon locked into a draft behind Paul Menard and moved into the top-20. On lap 136, Gordon was caught up in a melee coming out of turn 4 when Keselowski triggered a multi-car crash. The #24 car sustained heavy damage on the front and right side.

Gordon brought the damaged car to pit road for repairs before heading to the garage. He returned to the event and finished in 39th place, which snapped his streak of 11 consecutive top-15 finishes. Gordon remains the NASCAR points leader by 3 points over Matt Kenseth.

Turning point
Gordon started moving from the rear with 60 laps to go, which put him in prime territory when Brad Keselowski spun up the track into his line.

JG's comments
"Oh man, we had a great car. The car always looks really good. This car was super-fast. (watching replay). Yeah, that is not the best angle and that's what I saw. I could see where the 2 came from the outside lane and came back down to the inside lane, or middle lane, then wiggled and got turned. I would like to see a different angle to see what turned him. Not exactly sure why he was driving the way he was driving to begin with but obviously he was trying to get his lap back and felt that was the way to do it. It was unfortunate what happened to him early, but more unfortunate what happened to many of us in that incident."

DID YOU FEEL IT WAS AGGRESSIVE EARLY BY ANYBODY?
"Danica (Patrick) made a mistake early. I don't think that was an aggressive move I think it was just a mistake that got the No. 2 (Brad Keselowski) turned (earlier in the race). She just misjudged him. Other than that I saw a fairly respectable race going on out there. We were battling up toward the front and everything was great. Our car was really good. Once we got shuffled to the outside lane and feel back it wasn't worth it to me, we went to the back. We just felt like we were getting closer and closer to needing to get our way further to the front to get ready for that next pit stop. From that pit stop on it is on. You have to go for it. We got caught up in the wreck at that time."

WHAT DID YOU SEE IN THAT ACCIDENT?
"Not much I just saw the No. 2 (Brad Keselowski) get turned. I had seen him for several laps driving over his head being pretty aggressive I guess trying to get his lap back. I knew he was laps down, but he wasn't doing anybody any favors, nor himself. Then ultimately that was a wreck. I would like to see the video to know exactly what happened. Somebody might not have given him an inch there, but he was certainly taking probably more than he should have been in the situation he was in. I'm disappointed myself that we have all talked that we needed to get further to the front for that next pit stop. I don't know if I had of waited a couple of more laps we might not have been in that one. We were making our way up there so I was pretty happy the progress we were making. Of course all it takes is one little incident like that and then you are in it."


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