July News

Jeff Wins At The Brickyard
BRICKYARD 400 - Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Finish: Victory

Jeff Gordon claimed his 5th career victory in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gordon led 40 laps and took the lead for the final time with 18 laps to go. He scored his 90th career victory and 2nd of the 2014 season.

Gordon started 2nd and took the race lead from Kevin Harvick on lap 2. He pulled out to more than a 3-second lead prior to the competition caution on lap 20. He opted for two tires during the stop. Gordon restarted 2nd next to Joey Logano who did not pit. On the restart, Gordon dropped to 4th as his Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson went by. He regrouped and took 3rd from Johnson on lap 32, and moved to 2nd when Logano came to pit road on lap 33. Gordon came to pit road for a green flag pit stop on lap 35 after complaining of loose handling. Different pit strategies were in play as Gordon passed Kasey Kahne and Joey Logano on the track following stops to run 15th on lap 45. When the field cycled through, Gordon ran 2nd to Harvick on lap 55. He came to pit road for a green flag stop on lap 66 for four tires. The second caution waved on lap 67 for Danica Patrick's axle problem. Gordon restarted in 4th place behind Denny Hamlin, Harvick, and Kahne. On the restart, he fell to 6th in the outside line as Logano went by entering turn 1. Gordon re-entered the top-5 on lap 74 with a move around Hamlin, and took 4th from Logano two laps later. He took 3rd from Harvick on lap 91 and worked to close a 4-second deficit to race leader Kasey Kahne.

The third caution waved on lap 97 for Trevor Bayne's crash. The lead lap cars came to pit road with Gordon restarted in 5th place. Harvick, with the preferred first pit stall, was able to re-take the spot from Gordon. On the restart, Gordon was boxed in behind Clint Bowyer and settled into 5th place on lap 102. He passed Harvick to take 4th on lap 106 and took 3rd from Bowyer two laps later. Kyle Busch moved over to let Gordon take 2nd place on lap 114 to get a piece of debris off the front of his car. Gordon came to pit road for the final time with 31 laps to go. He cycled through in 2nd place behind Kahne. A caution with 21 laps to go slowed the field. Gordon stayed out and restarted in 2nd alongside Kahne.

On the restart with 18 to go, Gordon dove to the inside to take the race lead from Kahne. He pulled away and scored his record-tying 5th victory at the famed 2.5-mile track in the Indianapolis suburbs.

Turning point
Gordon got a strong restart on the outside of Kahne with 18 laps to go to take the lead that he never relinquished.

JG's comments
"I don't think there is a greater feeling for a race car driver and a race team, because that's what it took today. It was a total team effort to be here in Victory Lane."

"I'm not very good on restarts and wasn't very good today. I finally made the restart of my life today when it counted most. I knew we had a great race car. We just needed to get out front. Kasey (Kahne) kind of hung back and I kind of got a little ahead of him and I had to back up and was able to stay on his quarter panel and once we got down into (Turns) 1 and 2, I could hear him get loose. I was kind of glad he took the inside because I really wanted the outside. I've got to thank him. He raced me awesome and clean because it could have gotten real ugly down there. Once I got clear of him I was like, I can't believe this is happening now. No caution; please no caution now. I cannot believe that this just happened."

"I was trying so hard with 10 (laps) to go not to focus on the crowd. Every once in a while I'd glance up there and I could see the reaction. I was trying not to let it get to me and not think about it too much. And yet you can't help it. It's such a big place and such an important victory and a crucial moment in the season and the championship and those emotions take over. I have my kids here; there's nothing better, especially at one of the biggest races to have your family here. All I know is my friends back at home; I need to take a vacation more often (laughs). This one is for all those fans throughout the years and all weekend long. They're saying 'we believe you can get number 5.' We got number 5."

"It's just unbelievable. I've wanted to win this race my whole life; to win here at this unbelievable place and the history of this race track. Jeff (Gordon) has an amazing record here. This is the one. This is the one for me. I am so proud of everybody at the No. 24 shop. Kasey (Kahne) had a great run. This is a new car. There is just a ton of work to it. Those guys did it; they are the best."

"I told Jeff this morning that this was his day. He's been so good on the long runs at every track and he gets around this place so well. But for him to break that tie [with 5 Indy wins] is pretty special. We're a little bit older than we were 20 years ago, but this is a great win. What a way, with Jeff, here in Indianapolis where this is his own track. I remember how good it felt. This one feels just as good."

Fuel Gamble Falls Short
CAMPING WORLD 301 - New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Finish: 26th

Brad Keselowski dominated the Camping World 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway by leading nearly half of the race en route to his second win in the last three weeks. Jeff Gordon finished 26th after an up and down day where he made a late race gamble to make it to the finish on fuel, but came up 3 laps short when the race went into extra time. Nevertheless, he holds a 12 point lead in the NASCAR standings. It snapped his streak of 17 consecutive top-15 finishes at Loudon.

Gordon started 11th and moved into the top-10 when Jimmie Johnson cut a tire on lap 8. The first caution waved on lap 13 after Johnson cut another tire and wrecked in turn 1. Gordon advanced to 7th by lap 22, but struggled with tight handling as the run progressed. He dropped to 9th by lap 40 and fell to 10th when Kevin Harvick passed on lap 43. His slide continued as Dale Earnhardt Jr sent him to 11th on lap 46. Gordon lost 3 more spots over the next 10 laps and ran 14th on lap 56. His handling woes dropped him outside the top-20 on lap 60 and he complained the car was "undrivable." Gordon dropped to 25th prior to a green flag pit stop on lap 75. Following the stop it was determined that Gordon's right rear tire had developed a slow leak which hindered the car's handling.

When the pit stop sequence cycled through, Gordon ran a lap down in 26th place. He passed Greg Biffle to take 25th by the 100-lap mark. The second caution waved on lap 112 for phantom debris. Gordon stayed on the track for the wave-around to get back on the lead lap. He restarted in 22nd place on lap 117. Gordon was unable to make headway and ran 22nd at the halfway point of the race. A debris caution on lap 153 allowed Gordon to come to pit road and get on the same pit sequence as the leaders -- while also allowing him to get four tires. He re-entered the top-20 after the restart on lap 157 and took 19th from Paul Menard on lap 160. Gordon took 15th from Kurt Busch on lap 171 as his forward march on four tires continued. The next debris caution came at lap 176 and Gordon came to pit road for fresh tires. He restarted in 16th place on lap 180 and worked through race traffic to pick up 3 spots in the next 10 laps. At the 200-lap mark, Gordon ran in 11th place.

He re-entered the top-10 for the first time since the early stages after Joey Logano crashed on lap 211. Gordon opted for two tires and restarted in 3rd place. He got a poor restart on the inside line and dropped to 7th on lap 220. He regrouped and took 6th from Kasey Kahne on lap 225, and entered the top-5 on lap 233. A debris caution with 52 laps to go brought the leaders to pit road for the final time. Gordon stayed on the track and assumed the race lead.

Gordon led until lap 270 when Brad Keselowski took over the top spot. With 20 to go, Denny Hamlin pulled to the outside and took a spot from Gordon. He conserved fuel to try and make it to the finish and backed off on his overall lap times. A caution for Justin Allgaier's crash with 3 laps to go set up a green/white/checkered finish. Hamlin came to pit road for fuel. Gordon stayed on the track, but ran out of fuel under the caution period. He needed a push from a safety vehicle to get back to pit road for fuel. He remained on the lead lap and finished the race in 26th place.

Turning point
Gordon was running 5th when the caution waved with 52 laps to go. He stayed on the track and inherited the race lead, but had to complete the distance on the edge of his fuel window.

JG's comments
"The whole race for us was just so up and down and crazy. There at the beginning, we had a leak in the right rear and went a lap down. I could barely hold onto it. I didn't know what was wrong with it. I just knew it was really hard to drive. I was doing everything I could to keep from wrecking. And we thought we just missed the set-up, but it was that tire. So we made an adjustment that probably over-compensated and we had to come from a lap down. But, the car, once we were able to tune on it and knew what we had, was actually really, really strong. We were able to show that towards the end, which was great. We didn't have the tires that those guys had, so they were a little bit better than us, but we held them off for a good while there. We were looking good to finish third. I felt very confident we could finish third until that caution came out and then we just ran out under caution."

"We knew we were very close. That pick-up is in the right side and so I was scuffing my tires and think I just took enough fuel out of the pick-up and I could never get any back in there. I tried. I think if we would have gone green, we would have been fine. I think it was really just because under caution it wouldn't pick-up the amount of fuel that was in there. We might have run out anyway. But, it was the best effort and chance we had at winning this race. And that's what it's all about for us in the points. Leading and where we've been, it's all about wins right now. We got to go for it so I thought it was a great call even if we did come up short."

WHAT DO YOU TAKE AWAY FROM TODAY THAT YOU CAN USE HERE IN SEPTEMBER? "When the green flag dropped, I thought we were in big trouble. But as it turned out, we had some kind of issue with the right rear tire going do. So, we've got to work on it. We weren't good enough, in my opinion, to win, but we weren't far off. So that gives us something really good to work with and notes to take back and go over and debrief with our teammates and hopefully come back even stronger."

"Yeah, I don't know what they've got but they've got something that's really good right now and we're playing catch-up."

Evasive Maneuvers
COKE ZERO 400 - Daytona International Speedway. Finish: 12th

Aric Almirola claimed his first career win in the rain-shortened Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. The race was called after 109 laps due to heavy rain. Jeff Gordon finished 12th after evading two major wrecks to claim his 17th top-15 finish in 18 races this year. Gordon maintained the NASCAR points lead by 27 over his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Gordon started 9th and ran on the inside line for the first 6 laps before a caution for a rain shower. As heavier rain fell, the field came to pit road for a red flag period. After a 40-minute delay, racing resumed on lap 12. On lap 20, a multi-car incident was triggered when Ricky Stenhouse got loose at the front of the field and Gordon turned down into Tony Stewart's car.

More than 10 cars sustained heavy damage -- including Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, and Kyle Larson. Gordon sustained minor left front damage when he turned into Stewart's right rear quarterpanel after seeing Stenhouse get loose. He came to pit road several times for fender repairs. Gordon restarted in 31st place on lap 29. A debris caution on lap 40 slowed the field with Gordon in 30th place. He restarted in 32nd on lap 44 and remained in a draft with Ryan Newman approximately 4 seconds behind the lead group. He drafted with Newman up to 24th place on lap 75. He stayed on the track to lead 2 laps during a green flag pit sequence on lap 88. After a 2-tire change, Gordon ran in 16th place on lap 90.

The next caution waved for debris on lap 94. Gordon stayed out and restarted 12th on lap 97. Gordon barely made it through another major wreck on the backstretch that took out more than 20 drivers on lap 98. The wreck was triggered when Greg Biffle bump drafted Kasey Kahne, which turned him sideways into Joey Logano. Gordon sustained some nose damage after getting into the back of David Gilliland during the melee. After repairs on pit road, Gordon restarted in 13th place -- with just 16 cars on the lead lap. Gordon dropped to 12th before a caution for rain on lap 108. The red flag waved on lap 112 and the race was called after heavy rain continued in the afternoon.

Turning point
After Stenhouse got loose, Gordon turned down into Stewart. The damage impacted the handling of the Pepsi Chevrolet for the balance of the event.

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