August News

One Hot Night
IRWIN TOOLS NIGHT RACE - Bristol Motor Speedway. Finish: 7th

It wasn't a much-needed victory for Jeff Gordon, but a solid 7th place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway brought him to within 11 points of the 10th place NASCAR Chase cutoff. Gordon battled for the lead late in the event, but struggled on a restart with 47 laps to go which sealed his fate.

Gordon started 32nd and gained six spots by lap 10. His forward progress continued as he moved up to 21st place by lap 30. He advanced to 19th prior to the first caution for Ryan Truex's wall contact on lap 40. Gordon stayed on the track and restarted 8th on lap 46. Shortly after the restart, he used the high line to take 4th from Denny Hamlin. One lap later he took 3rd from Martin Truex. Gordon moved to the runner-up spot on lap 76 when Kurt Busch slowed and came to pit road. However, Matt Kenseth passed on lap 86 to send Gordon back to 3rd position. He pulled to the inside line and gave up a position to Truex on lap 88. The second caution waved on lap 90 for Josh Wise's wall contact. Gordon came to pit road for tires and restarted in 14th place. He moved up to 12th by lap 100 before the next caution for debris stemming from contact between Joey Logano and Kyle Busch. Gordon re-entered the top-10 on the restart and took 9th from Paul Menard on lap 112. He took 8th from Ryan Newman on lap 150 and passed Aric Almirola for position on lap 159.

As the race neared the 170-lap mark, Gordon moved back into the top-5 with a move around Juan Pablo Montoya. On lap 175, race leader Clint Bowyer was spun by a lapped car. Gordon hit the rear of Bobby Labonte's car in a chain-reaction and sustained minor damage to the nose of the car. Pit stops followed with Gordon exiting in 4th place -- the second car that took 4 tires. He moved up to 3rd on lap 187 and ran behind Carl Edwards and Hamlin. The next caution came on lap 203 for Tony Raines' wall contact. Gordon came to pit road to remove tape from the grille and restarted in 20th place. He used the high line and took 15th from Joey Logano on lap 223. As the event neared the halfway point, Gordon took 13th from Almirola and 12th from Kasey Kahne. He re-entered the top-10 at the halfway mark by passing Brad Keselowski.

A debris caution on lap 257 brought the leaders to pit road. Gordon opted for 2 tires and restarted in 8th place. He moved to 6th on lap 270 and re-entered the top-5 on lap 280. Gordon took 4th from Kyle Busch on lap 306 and held the spot until the next caution on lap 334. Following pit stops, Gordon restarted in 4th place and battled Truex for 3rd prior to a caution on lap 358 for a wreck triggered by Brian Vickers. Gordon stayed on the track and restarted 3rd behind Edwards and Truex. He dropped to 4th on the restart when Matt Kenseth went by. The next caution on lap 374 allowed Gordon to start on the high line for the restart on lap 381. He took 2nd when Carl Edwards slowed after the restart. Kenseth opened a 1-second lead on Gordon prior to the next caution on lap 439. He slipped to 3rd on the restart just before a wreck that claimed Truex, Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, and Brad Keselowski. The race was red flagged for 10 minutes for track clean-up. Gordon struggled on the restart and dropped to 7th place with 45 to go. Logano took a spot from Gordon and dropped him to 9th place with 40 laps remaining. He moved to 7th in the final stages when drivers ran out of fuel near the finish.

Turning point
Gordon restarted on the inside line with 47 laps to go and was unable to challenge for the lead after dropping back in traffic.

Fade Away
PURE MICHIGAN 400 - Michigan International Speedway. Finish: 17th

Jeff Gordon struggled with handling from the outset in the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Gordon finished a disappointing 17th and dropped to 14th in the NASCAR standings. He is 26 points behind 10th place -- the final Chase cutoff. Gordon will likely need at least 1 win in the next 3 weeks to qualify for the 10-race playoff.

Gordon started 13th and ran 12th when the first caution waved at the end of the opening lap for Clint Bowyer's spin. He advanced to 11th prior to a caution on lap 8 for David Reutimann's wall contact. Gordon fell to 13th on the lap 12 restart as the field was slowed two laps later when Austin Dillon lost control and hit JJ Yeley. As the run progressed he slipped back two spots behind Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson on lap 37. Gordon came to pit road for a green flag stop on lap 41 and cycled through in 14th place. Gordon's progress was hindered by loose handling issues in the corners. He took 13th from Juan Pablo Montoya on lap 65. A caution for Ricky Stenhouse's wall contact on lap 72 brought Gordon to pit road for adjustments. Following a two-tire change, Gordon restarted in 14th place. He dropped to 17th within two laps of the restart, and feel back to 18th when Clint Bowyer passed on lap 85. Gordon gained two spots by lap 93 to run in 16th place. He moved to 15th prior to the next caution on lap 105.

Following a four-tire change, Gordon restarted 17th on lap 110. However, he struggled on the restart and dropped as low as 23rd on lap 113. He rallied back to 20th by lap 117 and took 19th from Trevor Bayne on lap 129. A caution for Dale Earnhardt Jr's cut tire and subsequent wall contact slowed the field on lap 135. Gordon opted for two tires on pit road and restarted in 14th place. He quickly gained two spots and closed in on Kurt Busch for 11th on lap 143. However, Gordon lost ground on the inside line and settled into 12th place. The next caution waved on lap 149 for Bobby Labonte's spin. Gordon stayed on the track and restarted 10th on lap 153. He struggled on the restart and dropped out of the top-20 by lap 155. Kyle Busch's spin on lap 156 brought out the caution and allowed Gordon to come to pit road for adjustments within the fuel window to make it to the finish. After a four-tire change, Gordon restarted in 26th place. His low water mark for the day came on lap 162 when he ran in 28th place -- the last car on the lead lap. He regrouped to run 24th with 34 laps to go and re-entered the top-20 on lap 170. Another caution involving Kyle Busch slowed the field with 28 laps to go. He stayed on the track and restarted in 15th with 23 laps to go. He lost for spots and ran 19th with 20 to go. Gordon lost another spot and ran in 20th place with 13 laps to go. He gained a spot and moved to 19th place with 10 to go. He picked up two more spots in the closing stages to finish 17th. Gordon has not posted a top-15 finish in the last 3 races at Michigan.

Turning point
Gordon battled handling issues for the balance of the day. He entered the top-10 just once, but was unable to hold the spot.

JG's comments
"This team has a lot of fight in them and you can never give up. I think similar things last year caught us out into this position and I think similar things are going to get us into it like last year... We just can't make mistakes. We've been making -- me personally, and also as a team -- too many mistakes. We have to eliminate those right now for the rest of the season if we're not only going to be in (the Chase), but if we're going to be any threat for the championship."

Damaging Blows
NASCAR AT THE GLEN - Watkins Glen International. Finish: 36th

An early race incident on the Watkins Glen road course has put Jeff Gordon's hopes of qualifying for the Chase in jeopardy. Gordon crashed on lap 14 and finished 36th in a badly damaged car. He dropped to 13th in the series standings, and is now 15 points outside the top-10.

Gordon started 28th and dropped to 30th by lap 5 when the first caution waved. Gordon came to pit road for chassis adjustments and restarted 36th on lap 9. He advanced to 30th by lap 10 and took 28th from Danica Patrick one lap later. However, on lap 14, Gordon lost control and made contact with the retaining barrier with the front of the car. Gordon was unable to continue in the event and exited the car. Following repairs in the garage area, Gordon returned to the event with the #24 looking more like a Saturday night modified without the front hood and fenders. He gained 5 spots due to attrition and finished 36th.

Turning point
Gordon came out of the esses and lost control of the #24 car on lap 14. The ensuing crash imperiled his hopes of qualifying for the Chase for the Championship.

JG's comments
"It's unfortunate. I had a big run on the 11 (Denny Hamlin). I got up on him and the nose just completely took off. Put me in the wall... put me in the grass and from that point on I was just a passenger. We'll get it fixed, go out there, and ride around. That's the penalty for making a mistake like that. You have to go out there and drive something like I'm getting ready to drive around there all day. We pay the price in the points. So, on to next week."

Inside Out
PENNSYLVANIA 400 - Pocono Raceway. Finish: 2nd

It seemed as if Jeff Gordon's 88th career victory was on the horizon at Pocono Raceway. Gordon led Kasey Kahne on the final restart, but gave his Hendrick Motorsports teammate the opportunity to use the outside line to power past. Gordon finished second, which tied his best finish of 2013. In addition, he moved up to 9th in the series points standings. "I've given away a lot more races than I've won," Gordon said. "I'm happy we were in position. I'm bummed it didn't work out."

Gordon started 22nd and took a wide line into turn 1. Juan Pablo Montoya clipped Ricky Stenhouse and sent the #17 car spinning. Gordon was just ahead of the melee and moved up to 19th place. He advanced to 16th by lap 10 and ran 13th when the second caution waved on lap 15 for Denny Hamlin's wall contact. Gordon restarted 15th following pit stops. He dropped back on the restart and ran 17th on lap 20. As the run progressed, he moved through traffic and ran 12th on lap 26. Gordon entered the top-10 on lap 32 with a pass on Tony Stewart. Due to alternating pit stop strategies, Gordon moved up to 3rd place on lap 38. He assumed the race lead on lap 42 when Kurt Busch came to pit road. Gordon came to pit road one lap later for fuel and tires. Following the stop, Gordon ran in 8th place. He quickly moved to 6th with passes on Paul Menard and Joey Logano on lap 49. A caution on lap 54 for David Gilliland's wall contact brought some of the leaders to pit road. Gordon stayed out and restarted in 3rd place. He held the spot until a green flag pit stop on lap 72.

The complexion of the event changed on lap 77 when race leader Jimmie Johnson cut a tire and damaged the right side of the #48 car. Gordon stayed out and restarted 3rd on lap 82. He ran behind Kasey Kahne and Brad Keselowski for 15 laps before a caution for David Stremme's cut tire. The #24 car came to pit road for 2 tires and restarted in 7th place. He slipped to 9th just after the restart on the inside line, but rallied back to 8th prior to a caution for Aric Almoriola's spin on lap 102. Gordon dove low on the restart to move up to 5th with 53 laps to go. A multi-car wreck involving Danica Patrick, Jeff Burton, and Paul Menard brought out the caution with 50 to go. He passed Kyle Busch for 4th with 39 laps to go. Gordon came in for his final green flag pit stop with 30 to go.

Gordon held the 3rd spot through the cycle of pit stops behind his Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. He passed Earnhardt Jr with 22 laps to go, but ran 6 seconds behind Kahne for the race lead. Gordon was aided by a debris caution with 12 laps to go, which allowed him to restart next to Kahne. Gordon was on the inside line as Kahne opted for the outside lane. Gordon took the race lead from Kahne with a pass in turn 3 with 8 laps to go. Matt Kenseth's spin brought out a caution with 4 laps to go and set up a green/white/checkered finish. Gordon chose the inside lane for the restart.

On the restart, Kahne powered past Gordon in the tunnel turn to take the race lead. Nevertheless, Gordon posted a 2nd place effort -- tying his best finish of the 2013 season.

Turning point
Gordon ran distantly behind Kahne in the closing stages. However, a caution flag for debris on the track with 12 laps to go bunched the field and gave him a chance at the victory. He took the race lead, but the final caution for Matt Kenseth's spin set up a restart. Gordon moved to protect the inside line, which allowed Kahne to power past on the outside.

JG's comments
"Isn't it funny how our emotions go up and down in this sport? Going into the race if you told me that I could finish second, I'd say that was a great birthday gift. But when you take the lead from Kasey the way we did on that restart, I thought we had him. He was better than us, but I thought we could hold him off. I got a perfect restart on that last one. I probably jumped him a little bit. I moved out front of him and it looked like I needed to block the inside. So I kind of protected the inside and he blasted up there on the outside. Flat outdrove me thru Turn 1. I'm disappointed that we didn't get this win. This team has worked so hard to put ourselves in position. A little disappointed, but also excited because it was a good points day for us and we needed that."

Well first, congratulations to Kasey Kahne. He did an awesome job down there in (turn) one getting to my outside. We had a great restart the time before that. I don't know maybe it was an advantage being second not first because we got inside and we were able to get by him the restart before that. Just an incredible effort by this team. These guys were awesome in the pits, great calls by Alan (Gustafson, crew chief), and fast race car. I'm just having fun up there duking it out for the win. Kasey was the guy to beat. We got a good restart, got in front of him and then that last one I got the perfect restart. I thought I needed to protect the inside and man he drove right by me on the outside. Hats off to him and a little bummed for the team, but also got to look at the bright side a pretty good birthday and pretty good points day."

"I don't know. We made so many changes from Friday to today that I know our car was certainly a lot better today than it was on Friday. It changed, but it mainly changed throughout the race. It was a little slick there at the beginning, but I was also in 22nd position. When you get out front there, boy, it is amazing how much grip it has. The further we got to the front the better the car drove and hung in there all day. We've had good cars here for a while we just haven't started good and got that track position today things went our way."

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