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Out Of Time
BRICKYARD 400. Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Finish: 2nd

Rewind: Time wasn't on Jeff Gordon's side in the closing stages of the Brickyard 400. After leading 36 laps during the event, he found himself in 16th place with less than 30 laps to go. The assumption was that the cars ahead of Gordon would need to stop for fuel. He drove the final 25 laps harder than the drivers ahead of him, but came up short to one driver -- Paul Menard -- on the final lap. The 2nd place effort was Gordon's sixth top-10 finish in the last 8 races.

Gordon started 8th and moved to 6th within three laps. He entered the top-5 with a pass on Kurt Busch and took 4th from Jimmie Johnson on lap 8. Ten laps later he moved into the runner-up spot with a move around David Ragan. However, his progress stalled as Kasey Kahne held a comfortable 4-second lead. Gordon led a lap when Kahne darted onto pit road on lap 25. Two laps later, Gordon came in for a four-tire change. Following the stops, Kahne's lead ballooned to more than 8 seconds over Gordon. A debris caution on lap 34 slowed the field and erased the gap to Kahne. The top-2 elected to stay on the track and hold their spots. Gordon remained distantly behind Kahne before a caution on lap 50 for David Reutimann's cut tire. Gordon restarted in 4th after changing four tires. On lap 58, he took 2nd place from Ragan and closed in on Dale Earnhardt Jr for the race lead. He took the lead from his teammate and led the event through a green flag pit stop cycle on lap 82. A caution on lap 94 brought the field to pit road. Gordon opted for 2 tires and restarted in 4th place on lap 98. He moved to 2nd place by lap 105 before a caution for Kyle Busch's wall contact on lap 113. Gordon restarted 12th due to several drivers opting for two tires.

A caution for Landon Cassill's spin brought the caution out with 40 laps to go with Gordon in 9th place. With 33 laps to go, Gordon moved up to 6th place. He advanced up to 2nd place with 29 to go -- but needed a pit stop for fuel before the finish. He moved into the lead with 28 laps to go as drivers pitted for fuel. Gordon pitted for right side tires and fuel with 27 to go. Gordon returned to the race in 16th place. With 10 laps to go, he moved into the 10th position as he made up 1 second per lap on the leaders who were in fuel conservation mode. With 7 to go, he took the 7th position and was less than 8 seconds behind Jamie McMurray for the race lead. Gordon took 5th with 6 laps to go as he ran nearly 1.5 seconds per lap faster than the leaders. With 4 laps to go, he took 4th from Regan Smith. He took 3rd from McMurray and passed Mark Martin for 2nd place on the backstretch. Gordon closed in on Paul Menard for the race lead with 2 laps to go. However, Menard held him off for the win by less than one second.

Road ahead: The series heads to Pocono Raceway for the second time in 2011. Gordon dominated the June event en route to his 84th career victory. Based on the team's flat track performance of late, the Pocono race should produce solid results.

JG's comments:

"It was awesome. What a fun race for us. From the time we got here, probably even prior to getting here, I felt really positive about the effort that was put into our racecar. The guys were really fired up about getting here. But you still never know until you get out there on the track. The first couple laps on that track, it just had that feel, you know, it had a great feel. Struggled a little bit getting ready for qualifying, but qualified better than I thought we would. When they dropped the green, I knew we had a car that could win this race. It was a lot of fun. Kasey Kahne looked to be one of the best. He had some issues. We got up there and were able to kind of control the race. It was just a lot of fun. It's been a while since we had a car like that here at Indy. Just a flawless effort by the team. The pit stops were fantastic. I thought Alan called a great race. When we came off pit road the last time, we were able to get ahead of Harvick, I thought that was a huge moment for us. That put us in position to win. I knew that shortly after that, there were some guys that were going to try to stretch it on fuel and all I could do is run as hard as I could to put pressure on them and hope that I got there in time. We got there just a little bit short. But Paul did a great job saving fuel because when I got there, even Regan and other guys, they were still pretty much checking up when I got there. It was easy to get by them. But Paul had saved enough to where he could go back to a full pace. By that time, my car was just too tight behind him. Back to what Regan said, you know, I don't know Paul as well as he does. But I was with him the other day. I thought it was pretty cool. We were talking about him coming here as a kid with his family I think from like, I don't know, late '80s or something all the way to 2000, some ridiculous thing where every year he was here for the 500, knowing what his dad has done here in IndyCars. I don't think there's anybody that could appreciate a win, even if it is his first win. I think he's in awe right now. I went and saw him. His eyes, he's like a deer in headlights. I'm so happy for him, I think a lot of people are. It's one thing to get your first win here, but it's another when you can appreciate how special it is to win here. I think Paul certainly has that.

Q. Jeff, I guess second kind of sucks, but what does this weekend and effort today say about your team's championship drive?
JEFF GORDON: Yeah, it says a lot. Obviously we wanted to win this race, but we also wanted to make a statement. I think we certainly did that. You know, this team is for real. We showed that today. You always hear about people talking about, you know, the team that wins here at Indy, their chances for the championship. While we didn't win, I think we definitely showed that we're a championship-caliber team. We've been knocking on the door, getting closer every single weekend, won a couple races. For me this is going to be a huge boost for this race team and hopefully a bit of a statement to the competition as well that we're serious about our efforts at a championship this year. If we can run like we did today here at Indy, you know, I know we're capable of winning just about anyplace we go.

Q. Jeff, you won the first Brickyard here. You know how you felt. Compare it with what you think he feels today.
JEFF GORDON: I think the comparison's probably very similar. I think, you know, it was a dream come true for me just to get a chance to race at Indy. That first event, you know, was unbelievable. I was definitely in shock that we won that race. That race changed my life forever, certainly my career has never been the same since. I think Paul is going to experience that same thing. This will be a big boost for his confidence. But, you know, those guys have worked hard to come into Childress and put together a good, strong team and put Paul in a position to be able to be competitive enough to win. And they've been competitive this year, they really have. They've been strong. This is not just a fluke. They took a big risk. But they had to beat a lot of other guys that were trying to save fuel. There at the end, you know, I couldn't have passed him. Again, just because he's been here so much as a kid experiencing Indy, he knows how special it is to compete here, let alone win here. So I think the feelings are probably very similar. He probably has a greater appreciation for it than I did in '94, because while I was watching from a distance and my heroes were Indy 500 drivers, I wasn't in the garage like he was. So he could probably appreciate it even more.

Q. Jeff, you've won a couple times, basically locked into the Chase. In these next six races, where is your team's focus going to be? Business as usual, R&D?
JEFF GORDON: Man, we're going to try to put the same kind of effort we just did today and just keep building our team up to be able to be championship caliber when the Chase comes around. I think we're very close. Alan and I, it took us a little while to get to know one another, how to communicate with one another, what I need in the car. He's been really giving me great stuff to drive. It's been a blast. Today was just solid pit stops, no mistakes, a lot of confidence in his calls, in his adjustments. I thought today we were a complete team. We've got to continue to do that week in and week out. I think there's definitely more tracks that we can win at. But it's really about building ourselves up to be strong when the Chase comes around.

Q. Jeff, when is the last time you've been this happy to finish second?
JEFF GORDON: Well, this is Indy, you know. I guess I'm happy because we ran so good today. We haven't run this good in a while. I know what it means to run good here at Indy. This is a tough place. There's no coincidence that teams that have won here in the past several times have gone on to win the championship because it shows who has the complete package. I think that we showed we got a great package. While we came up short, I guess too because I'm happy for Paul. If you're gonna get beat, it's pretty cool to get beat by somebody that can really appreciate this win. I don't like finishing second. I was disappointed. When I came down the front straightaway, I was pretty upset. But that quickly turned into my thoughts about how great we ran today and how cool it was for Paul.

Q. Matt said he thought when you got around him as Burton was coming into the pits, that was probably the pass for the lead. Did you have that same thought?
JEFF GORDON: There was two big moments I thought that happened for us. That one, when we got by Matt. I was better than Matt, but I couldn't pass him. He was good enough to keep me behind him. If we didn't get in front of him, then he very easily could have won this race. So when I got by him there, you know, I thought that was big. Then the next big moment was when we came off pit road. I thought this was where Alan was genius today. I don't know how it worked out. But when we came in for that last pit stop, we rolled off there and I could see him coming down the front straightaway, and I ran really hard through one and two on that access road to try to get ahead of him. I just squeaked ahead of him by the time we got to turn three and pulled away. That was Harvick and Kenseth. Those two moments were key moments to put us in position to win. Had those guys had to come in, we had the position. We did everything we could to put ourselves there to win this race.

Q. How much more time do you think you needed to catch him?
JEFF GORDON: I'll be honest with you. You know, I used it all up getting to him. There were a couple cars that were saving fuel when I got to them. They didn't make it real easy on me, which you can't blame 'em. But that held me up a bit. And then when I got to him, I got tight. He could run a good enough pace where even if I had gotten closer to him, I don't think I could have passed. Paul was pretty good all day today actually. I ran with him earlier in the race. It was going to be tough to pass him then. There at the end, where I give him a lot of credit, he saved enough fuel to where at the end he went for it. The tires are not too burned off because he didn't push the car too hard. He saved enough fuel that he could run a good enough pace that I don't think I could have passed him. I used it all up getting to him. But another lap, I was hoping he was going to run out (laughter). I was hoping it was going to be an easy pass.

Q. Jeff, is there any master plan for the fueling system that you can come out with enough fuel to finish big races like this?
JEFF GORDON: Well, it seems to me like what a lot of guys are doing now to save fuel, used to be a big track like this, if you were one lap short, you better come in, you're not going to make it unless you get a bunch of cautions. Now what's happening is guys have figured out how to stretch it and get incredible fuel mileage even under green by pushing on the clutch, shutting off the engine, doing a bunch of things that they can stretch it four and five laps now, even on a big track like this. Used to be impossible to save that amount of fuel. But these days guys are figuring it out. That's about the only thing. There's not a whole lot you can do to the tank. There's not a lot you can do to conserve fuel with the carburetor. Little tiny things. But other than that, even just checking up early isn't going to save you a whole lot. You have to get the rpms down. It's something that a lot of teams have been working on. Things to in-car cameras, we've seen other guys, how they've done it, and now we work on it. I will say, you know, I really enjoyed there at the end being in a position to not have to conserve. It was a lot of fun to run hard and try to chase these guys down, even though we came up short. It's the position everybody prefers to be in. Doesn't mean you're always going to win the race that way.

WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND WHEN YOU KNOW HOW CLOSE IT WAS GOING TO BE?
"The biggest key to me was when we came out of the pits ahead of Harvick. I thought that was huge, so Alan Gustafson did an awesome job. First of all what an incredible car. Right from the drop of the green flag this was a lot of fun day and I had a blast driving. The car was awesome. So when we got in front of Harvick I thought okay, I thought that was the guys we were going to race and then when Alan told me there were guys that were going to try to stretch out fuel mileage all I could do was drive as hard as I could. I was a little bit loose at the beginning and we got in some traffic and the car finally tightened up and then we were really clicking off some laps. Every time I got to a car that was saving fuel they kind of held me up a little bit and made it a little more difficult for me to pass so I knew were weren't going to quite get to Paul, it was really about him running out of fuel. We tried as hard as we could to put pressure on him and I've got to say as disappointing as it is to not win this race it sure was great to run that good and I've got to congratulate Paul Menard. I don't think there is anybody in this garage area that appreciates a win here at the Brickyard more than Paul. He grew up here as a kid and I think thatís pretty special, pretty cool."

HOW BAD DID YOU WANT IT ON THAT LAST LAP KNOWING YOU WERE THAT CLOSE?
"Well I wanted it really bad you know leading up to that but on the last lap I knew I was too tight behind him and if he didn't run out I wasn't going to get him. I needed a few laps to work on him, well I guess I needed a few more laps for him to run out of fuel too."

ANOTHER LAP OR TWO AND YOU MIGHT HAVE HAD IT
"I'm so proud of this team. I mean they were just flawless. What an awesome race car we have had all weekend long and we showed it, just how strong it was, throughout the whole day and I tell you Alan called a perfect race to get me out front of Harvick there...it was huge. And then we had a great car and we had fresher tires. We had a long way to make up and all we could do was run as hard as we could to put pressure on those guys and hope they would run out. I passed all of them but one and when I got to Paul he had enough left that he could get going and by that time I had really worn the tires out and I was pretty tight behind him. I can't think my guys enough for this effort."


Stronger Than Granite
LENOX 301. New Hampshire Motor Speedway: Finish: 11th

Rewind: Jeff Gordon and the #24 battled through adversity at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and seemed poised for a top-5 finish. However, a flat tire on the final lap doomed their chances as Gordon finished 11th. He led 19 laps during the race, but a battery change at the halfway point put him a lap down. Gordon battled back and was running 4th on the final lap before the tire went down. Due to the battery issues, Gordon cut the cooling system in the car, which resulted in late race cramping in his legs. He battled through race traffic several times during the event, but did not have the finish to show for the superb effort.

Gordon started 7th and dropped a spot in the opening laps. However, as the tire pressures came up, he took positions from Juan Pablo Montoya and Jeff Burton to move up to 6th on lap 8. Gordon moved into the top-5 on lap 29, just before a debris caution slowed the field. Pit stops followed with Gordon departing in 7th place after a two-tire change. He dropped to 9th within a lap of the restart, but regrouped as the run progressed. He moved back into 7th on lap 43 with a pass on Brad Keselowski. Gordon moved into the top-5 on lap 50, and took 4th from Burton on lap 53. Kyle Busch's cut tire brought a caution period and pit stops. Gordon restarted 16th on lap 65, but was hindered by traffic and dropped to 19th. Gordon patiently made his way back and moved to 12th within 10 laps. He re-entered the top-10 on lap 80 and moved up to 6th when a debris caution slowed the field on lap 99. Gordon opted for 2 tires and restarted in 5th place on lap 105. He lost spots at the outset, but regained the positions on the longer run. On lap 120, he moved into the 4th position with a pass on Kurt Busch. He took 3rd from Burton two laps later, and the runner-up spot from Jimmie Johnson on lap 123. Gordon took the race lead from Kasey Kahne on lap 127. He opened a 3-second lead before a caution on lap 145 for Keselowski's cut tire. Crew chief Alan Gustafson opted for a four-tire change and Gordon restarted in 10th place.

On the restart, Gordon lost power and dropped to 35th. He switched batteries in the car and regained power. A caution for fluid on the track on lap 160 allowed Gordon to come to pit road and the crew swapped batteries. He lost a lap in the process and restarted 34th on lap 165. A caution for Denny Hamlin's spin on lap 171 allowed Gordon to get back on the lead lap. He moved to 27th by lap 180 and was up to 24th when Mark Martin spun after cutting a tire. Gordon avoid his teammate's spin and restarted 15th after staying on the track during the caution period. On lap 200, he took 11th from Kasey Kahne and closed in on the top-10. He passed Kevin Harvick for 10th on lap 204, and advanced to 6th when a debris caution waved on lap 215. Gordon restarted 17th after a tire change and moved to 11th on lap 225. During a caution flag for Brian Vickers' wreck, Gordon came to pit road for the final time to top off with fuel and restarted 23rd with 70 laps to go. He re-entered the top-15 with 60 to go, just as caution slowed the field for Johnson's spin. He stayed on the track and restarted 8th with 55 laps to go. He entered the top-5 on lap 249 and moved to 4th with 37 laps to go. With 18 laps to go, Tony Stewart took 4th from Gordon -- which essentially ended his hopes for a victory. Gordon moved back into 4th by passing Kurt Busch two laps later. However, the day took its toll as he experienced leg cramping in the late stages due to cutting off in-car equipment to save battery voltage. Gordon came across the line in 4th place to take the white flag. However, a flat tire entering the corner forced him to slow on the backstretch. He lost 7 spots in the final half lap and finished in 11th place.

Road ahead: The series takes a week off before heading to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400. Gordon will travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo after Loudon as part of his work with the Clinton Global Initiative. Gordon will tour a refugee camp to get a firsthand look at the problems impacting the refugees in the Congo.

JG's comments

"What didnít happen today? It was a pretty crazy day for us. But certainly a lot to smile about with how great our car was. My goodness, the car was so good. I could tell at the beginning of the race that we just had to be patient and try to get track position. I thought that Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) made some great call there when we took four (tires) and others took two, it was a little risky but it really paid off for us. That got us a big lead. I think all we really had to do was maintain that towards the front and I think that the results might be a little bit different today. But thatís what you have to do. You have to survive these races in a lot of different ways and we had a lot of obstacles thrown at us with the alternator issue, which caused me to have to turn my A/C off and brake blowers, which probably ultimately blew that right front tire there at the end. So it was a challenging day in a lot of ways. But it was certainly something. And we're excited about coming back here later in the year to this race track. Our car was fast."

DID YOU NOW THAT RIGHT FRONT TIRE WAS GOING FLAT?
"No, I had no idea. Again, we had so many issues thrown at us today that the one that I wasn't really thinking a whole lot about was what kind of temperature we were putting into the brakes when those blowers were off or have to cycle them and turn them on and turn them off. That long of a run on tires, I would have been a bit more conservative. I thought (Denny) Hamlin was starting to check-up, trying to save fuel and we had a shot at getting to him, so I started charging the corner a little bit harder and so I think we put too much temperature on it and that blew the right front tire."

YOU TALKED ABOUT WANTING TO GET INTO THE CHASE AS A CHAMPIONSHIP THREAT, NOT JUST GET INTO THE CHASE. GOING INTO AN OFF-WEEKEND WITH SEVEN RACES TO GO, WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT WITH THIS TEAM TO STEP-UP TO THAT LEVEL?
"From a performance standpoint I think today we showed everybody what we're capable of doing; and for that Iím very excited. I know the guys feel really bad about the issues that we had, but it was a great lesson for us to go through this and understand how to deal with it and how we reacted to it; I thought they did a great job getting the batteries in the car and switching back and forth to get through the rest of the race. There was no alternator basically and we still had a fast race car. We were still capable of driving to the front and I think it was a very valuable lesson to us. Plus, we had some issues with alternators I think last year and we thought we had them solved. And so now weíve got to diagnose that issue to make sure that doesnít happen again, which can be a big plus for us. You want to go through all your checkmarks for preparing for the Chase for the Championship to make sure when you get into the Chase, if you do, you don't have these kind of issues."

ARE THERE ANY OTHER ISSUES THAT COULD BE A CHAMPIONSHIP THREAT MOVING FORWARD?
"Well, youíve got to have fast race cars and today we had a fast race car. I think weíve shown that we can put fast race cars out on these one-mile race tracks, especially the flatter tracks; and weíve got to back that up with effective performances on the 1.5-mile as well; which we're closing in on, but weíve got to get a little bit better. And so, I think fast race cars always help your chances for a championship and we seem to be putting that together right now. But we also have a very strong team. Today could have been disastrous for us with all the things that went wrong; and we still came up 11th."

DID MARK MARTIN HAVE SIMILAR ELECTRICAL ISSUES?
"We heard that but we have not been able to confirm that. So Iím not sure. I couldn't answer that and be 100 percent."

ON HIS GAUGES LIGHTING UP LIKE A CHRISTMAS TREE:
"You know, that's what I love about these new gauges. They have warning lights on them; the whole gauge lights up. When things start to happen, you're able to pay attention to it and react before everything goes wrong. So we knew that we were losing the power to the engine from an alternator standpoint; a battery standpoint. We had one battery in there that has an automatic shutoff when it gets to a certain volt, and it shut off on us. So thatís why we had to come in and change the battery. But when I switched over to the other battery, yeah, everything was lighting up and flashing and going crazy. Sometimes we only run one battery, so I was pretty happy to have two batteries today. But yeah, these gauges give you a lot of information thatís very valuable and that can help you in these types of situations."


Bluegrass Jam
QUAKER STATE 400. Kentucky Speedway: Finish: 10th

Rewind: Jeff Gordon posted an 10th place finish at Kentucky Speedway after struggling for the balance of the event. However, Gordon's struggles paled in comparison to thousands of race fans who were turned away from Kentucky Speedway after waiting in traffic for more than 7 hours due to a lack of parking at the facility. The inaugural race was an epic failure for Speedway Motorsports and track owner Bruton Smith as fans with tickets in hand -- some less than a mile from the track -- were unable to see racing action under the lights. Regarding the on-track action, Gordon started 14th and dropped to 18th by lap 10 while complaining of a lack of grip. He held the spot until the competition caution on lap 30. Gordon's crew changed four tires and he restarted in 25th place on lap 34. Following the green flag he continued to struggle with grip and ran in 26th on lap 50. He made steady progress and moved up to 21st on lap 70. Gordon pitted under green for tires on lap 81 and cycled through in 24th place. Race leader Kyle Busch put Gordon a lap down on lap 112. Ten laps later, Gordon came to pit road for a green flag stop complete with chassis adjustments. At the halfway point, he ran one lap down in 25th place. A caution for boring racing -- I mean, debris -- on lap 140 slowed the field. Gordon took the wave-around to get back on the lead lap. A caution on lap 153 for oil on the track allowed Gordon to pit for fresh tires. He moved up to 5th during a pit stop sequence and received a break when Jamie McMurray blew an engine, thus bringing out the caution flag. Gordon pitted and restarted 12th with 58 laps to go. He moved to 6th with 20 to go as he closed in on the top-5. Gordon pitted for two tires with 16 laps to go. A caution for Dale Earnhardt Jr's cut tire with 14 to go brought out the caution flag. Gordon restarted 14th with 8 laps remaining. He moved to 11th before Clint Bowyer spun with 6 laps to go. The race restarted with 2 laps to go. Gordon crossed the line in 10th place ahead of Denny Hamlin. It was Gordon's fifth top-10 finish in the last 6 races and moved him up to 7th in the series standings.

Road ahead: The series heads to New England for a mid-summer stop in Loudon, New Hampshire. Gordon's flat track program has shown improvement as the season has progressed. The Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet should be strong off the truck in Friday's practice sessions, with carry-over to the rest of the weekend.

JG's comments:

ON THE RADIO YOU SAID THIS TRACK WAS A REAL HANDFUL. WERE YOU SURPRISED?
"A little bit. When the green flag dropped I was surprised with how little grip there was because we had so much grip throughout the weekend. So that caught us off guard. We were off a little bit. But we mainly just needed track position and we had some great things go our way there towards the end to catch a caution and came back up there to a good position and then we were actually able to maintain. Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) made a great call to take a two-tire stop and if you just picked us up and put us in the top, maybe seven or eight, we could stay there. It was so impossible to pass here."

ON THIS FIRST CUP RACE AT KENTUCKY
"I think the only thing that made this a great race today was the green-white-checkered and the excitement and energy of the fans. I think when Bruton (Smith) is looking at how to get the traffic in here heís going to have to look at the race track as well. It's rough. It's really hard to pass. The layout needs a little help; but the surface most importantly, to give these fans what they really deserve. You never know how itís going to go. It was certainly exciting there at the finish, so that's cool."


Late Night Fireworks
COKE ZERO 400. Daytona International Speedway: Finish: 6th

Rewind: Jeff Gordon's night took a turn for the worse when he spun off turn four in the Coke Zero 400 with 3 laps to go. However, he avoided late race carnage and finished a respectable 6th in the event. Gordon went from 17th to 6th in the final two laps of the event. He started 4th and immediately hooked up in a tight draft with polesitter Mark Martin. The pair ran 1-2 for the first 5 laps before Trevor Bayne spun to bring out the caution flag. They dropped back to 7th and 8th on lap 17, but rallied back to 5th/6th when Carl Edwards spun on lap 25 for the second caution of the night. Following stops, Gordon dropped as low as 34th while drafting with Martin. They ran in 29th/30th on lap 48 when the caution waved for Dave Blaney's wall contact. Following pit stops, Gordon worked his way to 20th on lap 55. At the 300-mile mark, Gordon and Martin ran 23rd/24th. Gordon and Martin came to pit road for the final round of pit stops under the green flag with 25 laps to go. With 16 laps to go, the pair ran 17th/18th on the track. With 10 laps to go, they were distantly behind the leaders running in the lower half of the top-20. As the laps wound down, Gordon moved up to 11th with Martin in tow. Gordon pulled up to 7th with 4 laps to go as the pair closed in on the lead draft. However, Gordon spun out in traffic in turn four with 3 laps to go to bring out the caution. The Pepsi Max Chevrolet sustained cosmetic damage to the right rear of the car. On the initial green-white-checkered restart, Mark Martin and Joey Logano triggered an 8-car melee on the backstretch. Gordon avoided the wreckage and moved up to 17th place for the second GWC restart. Gordon made plans to work with Jimmie Johnson who restarted 16th. However, Gordon jumped ahead and drafted with Kyle Busch through the white flag lap. Two separate wrecks on the final lap allowed Gordon to finish the event in 6th place. It was his fourth top-6 finish in the last five races.

Road ahead: The Sprint Cup series visits Kentucky Speedway for the inaugural race at the track. Gordon has tested at Kentucky over the years and will have a full day of practice on Thursday prior to Saturday night's race.

JG's comments

ON THE SPIN/END OF RACE:
"Everybody was just really getting anxious and it was time to go and somebody got outside of me and Mark (Martin) coming off of (turn) two which made it three wide and had the No. 83 and No. 4 on the inside, just went into (turn) three and I don't know somebody got in the back of the No. 4 and pushed him up into me and I had nowhere to go. Then the car came around and luckily I straightened it out somehow and came back and fixed it and got four tires on our Pepsi Max Chevrolet. Miraculously there on those last two restarts avoided two more wrecks and was pushing Kyle Busch and he made some great holes on that last run. I don't know. It was awesome and how we finished sixth is unbelievable."

HOW WILD WAS IT OUT THERE?
"You know in the closing laps here with the two-car draft it is going to get wild and crazy. We got really far back, too far back, me and Mark (Martin) did. We had fast race cars. Alan (Gustafson) and Lance (McGrew) made a great call and did a two-tire stop there at the end. I don't know if that is what everybody did but maybe we did. But, I felt like from that point we started gaining on the field. We got ourselves really in a great position and started making some good passes. We got caught three-wide there in the middle going into three and I knew if anything happened, we were in trouble. And sure enough, the No. 4 (Kasey Kahne) got a shove and slid up into us and there was nowhere for me to go. Miraculously we saved it and came in and got four tires, fixed the damage. There at the end it was just about getting to be on Kyle Busch's bumper and go. He made some great holes. So we were able to come back to finish well, pretty amazing."


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