June News

Battling Back
SAVE MART 350. Infineon Raceway: Finish: 2nd

Rewind: It was truly a tale of two races for Jeff Gordon as he struggled with handling at the outset. However, a pit call to stay on the track with 20 laps to go brought the DuPont Chevrolet to life as Gordon rallied for a runner-up finish. It was his 3rd top-5 finish in the last 4 races. Gordon struggled with drive off the corner at the outset and fell from 12th to 16th in the first 9 laps. Carl Edwards went by on lap 11 and dropped Gordon back to 17th place. One lap later, Gordon slipped to 18th as Martin Truex passed. He came to pit road for a green flag stop on lap 19. Gordon ran in 16th place when the pit stop sequence cycled through the field. Gordon ran in 17th when the first caution waved on lap 32 for Casey Mears stalling on the racetrack. Gordon pitted for chassis adjustments during the caution flag. He restarted 23rd and avoided a wreck in turn 11 after Tony Stewart shoved Brian Vickers into the corner. Gordon moved up to 17th after working his way around the carnage. On the restart, he entered the top-15 after avoiding Martin Truex's spin in turn 11. A debris caution on lap 48 slowed the field, which brought a round of pit stops. Gordon restarted 28th on lap 51 due to the first 14 cars staying on the track. Gordon moved up to 22nd by the time the next caution waved on lap 59 for Bobby Labonte's crash. He made his way up to 16th on lap 64 before fading back to 23rd place. He ran as high as 5th place during a green flag pit stop sequence, but eventually pitted on lap 79. Gordon returned to the race in 26th place. He ran in 24th when Vickers intentionally wrecked Stewart as payback in turn 11. However, Gordon stayed on the track and moved up to 8th for the restart with 19 laps to go. With 18 to go he took 6th place from David Gilliland, but lost the spot to Juan Pablo Montoya who had fresher tires. Gordon moved into 5th when Montoya and Kasey Kahne got together on the track. With 12 laps to go, Gordon eased around Truex for the 4th position. He took 3rd from Brad Keselowski with 9 laps to go. Coming to the white flag, he took the runner-up spot from Carl Edwards.

Road ahead: The series heads to Daytona for the annual early July 400-miler. Gordon qualified on the outside of the front row for the Daytona 500 and was strong at Talladega in April. Gordon led the white flag lap, but finished 3rd in a 3-wide battle to the finish.

JG's comments:

"It certainly was. It was as much a statement to us as anything else. You know a great effort by this team and Alan and everybody. It was a struggle. I've got to tell you we really missed the set up at the beginning of this race. I don't know just the adjustments we made were that good or the track position or the track changing at the end. It looked like a lot of guys were really, really struggling with grip there at the end and our car was actually pretty good. We were fast and I think we were faster than the leaders. That felt awesome to start there with old tires and be able to work through traffic all the way up to second, man that was amazing."

"I guess so. I tell you what, Jeff Gorvette came on there at the end and you know what, I've just got to say thanks to this team. I know we do that all the time. But if you guys were watching that car, you know it was a struggle today. We were way in the back and not moving forward. We just missed the set-up at the beginning of this race. Alan and all the guys came together and made some good adjustments and that was a great call there at the end to stay out. We didnít know. I thought really, even there at the end, that we were probably going to get beat up by some of the guys on newer tires. But the car just really stayed good there and we were able to even beat a lot of the guys in front of us and run them down. So that was a lot of fun. I was just so thankful the car finally came together there at the end. We were really, really struggling. So it was a great team effort."

"It was hard. You've got to ride it out. You've got to keep your nose clean and stay out of trouble. There were a lot of guys doing some silly things that were wrecking and causing themselves a whole race instead of just trying to survive. When the car is like that you kind of have to give up the spots and not fight the guys off too much, which is just the toughest thing to do. You want to race. But we just didnít have what it took there to do that and so we just were patient and thatís part of being old. Iím going to be 40 this year and Iím more patient nowadays than I used to be. So I just appreciate this team hanging in there. It was not fun for any of us to see that but boy to hang in there and to come back and fight for second there at the end with Carl (Edwards) and to get a second place out of this day, wow."

Two By Four
HELUVA GOOD 400. Michigan Speedway: Finish: 17th

Rewind: Jeff Gordon was unable to capitalize on the momentum from last weekend's victory at Pocono as he posted a less than satisfying 17th place finish at Michigan Speedway. Gordon appeared on his way to a 7th place finish, but a four tire change on the final stop dropped him to 15th for the restart. Gordon started 31st and gained 7 spots on the track by the time the first caution waved on lap 8. He entered the top-20 during the ensuing round of pit stops by opting for two tires. However, he faded to 27th while battling handling issues before a debris caution on lap 28. Following a pit stop, Gordon moved up to 23rd by lap 40. He slid back to 27th before a round of green flag pit stops on lap 62. The adjustments seemed to help as Gordon moved to 24th on lap 75. A caution for Brad Keselowski on lap 84 brought the field to pit road. At the halfway point, Gordon ran in 22nd place. He re-entered the top-20 on lap 111. A well-timed caution flag with 40 laps to go allowed Gordon to restart in the 11th position. He took advantage of the track position by moving up to 8th with 34 to go. With 16 to go, Gordon moved to 7th with a backstretch pass on Ryan Newman. A caution with 9 to go for Dale Earnhardt Jr's wall contact bunched the field for the restart. A four tire change resulted in Gordon restarting 15th with 5 laps to go. He was unable to make any headway in the closing laps and finished 17th.

Road ahead: Gordon tested at the Mid Ohio sports car road course in preparation for Sonoma. He felt the test at Mid Ohio would be better suited for Sonoma, rather than a test at Virginia International or Road Atlanta. It's been 5 years since Gordon won a road course race.

Jeff Wins At Pocono
POCONO 500. Pocono Raceway: Finish: 1st

Rewind: Jeff Gordon moved into a tie for third on NASCARís career victories list, winning for the 84th time when he took the checkered flag Sunday at Pocono Raceway. Gordon led most of the final 40 laps and won for the second time this season. His 84 wins tie him with Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip for most in NASCAR history. Richard Petty leads with 200 wins and David Pearson is second with 105. Gordon tied Bill Elliott with five wins on the 2 1/2 -mile triangle track.
Gordon started 3rd and fell out of the top-10 just once during the event. He ran in the top-5 for the balance of the second half of the race and pulled away from Kurt Busch in the closing stages. This win was a bit more special for Gordon, who turns 40 in August. His first order of business once he hopped out of the car was a kiss from his daughter, Ella.

Road ahead: The series heads to one of Jeff Gordon's favorite tracks -- the 2-mile Michigan Speedway. Although Gordon has just two victories in 36 career starts there, he has 23 top-10 finishes. In addition, he's posted three top-5 finishes in the last 4 races at the track.

JG's comments: Post-race press conference

Get What You Need
STP 400. Kansas Speedway: Finish: 4th

Rewind: Jeff Gordon knew his car was better than his 22nd place starting spot at Kansas Speedway. He turned the 2nd fastest lap in the final practice session a day earlier and fought a loose handling car during the qualifying run. When the green flag waved to start the STP 400, Gordon moved through race traffic. By lap 15, he had gained seven positions on the track. On lap 30, he entered the top-10 with a pass on Brian Vickers. After a cycle of green flag pit stops, Gordon ran in 9th place. He had moved to 8th when the first caution for debris waved on lap 67. Gordon ran as high as 6th before handling issues on a longer run allowed Kevin Harvick to pass on lap 95. Following a caution flag and pit stop, Gordon zoomed through traffic on four fresh tires. He moved up to 4th on lap 118 before Landon Cassill brought out the caution one lap later. At the halfway point, Gordon ran in 3rd place. However, he lost two spots on pit road during caution flag stops on lap 160. Gordon moved to 2nd on lap 165 when Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin made slight contact in turn one. With 62 to go, Gordon pitted for tires and fuel under the green flag. He ran in 2nd until he came to pit road for fuel with 19 laps to go. Gordon finished the race in 4th due to the top-3 winning the fuel mileage game.

Road ahead: The NASCAR series visits Pocono Raceway for the first of two visits in 2011. Gordon has 7 top-10 finishes in the last 9 races on the 2.5-mile triangular track. He has 4 career wins at the track, with the most recent coming in a rain-shortened event in 2007.

JG comments:
"We're so thrilled to help out this Kansas area with everything that's been going on (tornadoes). Wanting to do more, but this team couldn't have done more for me today. They did an awesome job. We had a great race car all weekend long. We unloaded great and it showed up in the race all day long today. We got a little bit loose, it seemed like the track freed up a little bit on that last run and Kurt (Busch) got out there on me. We were just trying to maintain second and see what the pit strategy was going to be. We played it to the best that we possibly could. If I hadn't have been quite so free, I might have been able to get to third. But, all-in-all a great top-five, a great day in the points for us. I've got to thank Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and all the guys. They did an awesome job all weekend. The car just unloaded fast and it was very comfortable. They did great in the pits. We made some adjustments early and got a little too tight and backed off of those and it really came to us and that's when we drove up into the top-three and pretty much stayed there. I felt like we maybe needed to free it up a little bit more. It seemed like the track freed up at the same time so that adjustment definitely hurt us a little bit but we were still able to maintain second so I'm guessing everybody was dealing with that. All-in-all a great top-five and Iím thrilled about that. I want to thank everybody for supporting the Drive to End Hunger, especially in this Kansas area with everything thatís been going on up in Joplin. The support to Drive to End Hunger has been substantial and we can't thank the fans enough not only for coming out to this great race track but for supporting us. Donít forget to text hunger to 50555."

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