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Cut Down In Atlanta
ORAL-B USA 500 - Atlanta Motor Speedway. Finish: 17th

Recap
For the first 75 laps, it seemed that Jeff Gordon had the 2nd best car on the track. He was unable to take the race lead from Kevin Harvick, but was running solidly in 2nd when he cut a tire and hit the wall on lap 77. Gordon lost 2 laps and spent the remainder of the night passing cars despite being laps down. Gordon was able to get back on the lead lap in the closing stages due to cautions and finished 17th. Gordon's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne claimed the victory and clinched a spot in the Chase for the Championship

Gordon started 9th and moved into the top-5 within 3 laps after the outside line struggled on the start. He took 4th from Aric Almirola on lap 6 and moved around Matt Kenseth for 3rd one lap later. Gordon passed Kyle Larson for 2nd on lap 8 and closed to within a second of race leader Kevin Harvick. However, Gordon was unable to make significant headway and dropped to more than 4 seconds behind Harvick by lap 30. The first caution waved on lap 38 which allowed Gordon to erase the 7-second lead that Harvick had opened. Pit stops followed with Gordon restarting in 2nd place. He stayed with Harvick for about 5 laps before the lead widened to more than 3 seconds by lap 70.

On lap 77, Gordon cut a tire and hit the wall in turn 3 to bring out the caution. He flattened the right side of the Panasonic Chevrolet and came to pit road for repairs. Gordon dropped 2 laps off the pace and restarted in 39th place. He advanced to 29th by lap 100, but remained 2 laps down. A caution for Ryan Truex's spin on lap 116 brought Gordon to pit road for tires. He restarted in 27th place, 2 laps down. Gordon moved to 24th prior to the next caution for Marcos Ambrose's engine on lap 121. At the halfway point, Gordon ran in 24th place, 2 laps down. However, his lap times were similar to the leaders despite his circumstance of being laps down. A caution on lap 170 for Tony Stewart's cut tire slowed the field. Gordon came to pit road for tires and restarted in 23rd place, 2 laps down.

A debris caution on lap 208 brought pit stops. Gordon once again came to pit road for tires and restarted in 23rd place. He held the spot until a debris caution on lap 255. He restarted in 22nd place with 63 to go and moved to 21st, but remained 2 laps down. A caution for Brad Keselowski's wall contact slowed the field with 28 to go. Gordon restarted in 20th with 24 laps to go. A caution for Kyle Busch getting into Martin Truex brought out the caution with 2 laps to go. The #24 car stayed on the track for the wave-around and restarted 1 lap down in 20th place. On the restart, Kevin Harvick was squeezed into the wall to bring out the caution. Gordon received the free pass to get back on the lead lap.

Gordon restarted in 18th place and advanced to 17th when the checkered flag waved. It was his 3rd finish below 15th in the last 4 races.

Turning point
A cut left front tire on lap 77 sent Gordon into the turn 3 wall and made the rest of the night an uphill climb.

JG's comments
To come...


Reversal Of Fortune
BRISTOL NIGHT RACE - Bristol Motor Speedway. Finish: 16th

Recap
Jeff Gordon struggled with the handling in the mid-stages and his struggles were exacerbated by a pit road mistake. His 16th place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway was his lowest short track finish in the last 9 races. Nevertheless, he remained the NASCAR series points leader (+27) with two races remaining before the Chase begins.

Gordon started 2nd and ran behind race leader Kevin Harvick for the opening 36 laps. Gordon took the race lead from Harvick on lap 37 and led until Kyle Busch went by on lap 56. The competition caution on lap 60 brought pit stops. Gordon opted for four tires and restarted in 4th place. He quickly moved to 2nd on the outside line before a caution for Josh Wise's spin on lap 70. On the next restart, Gordon dropped to 4th after being trapped on the inside line. Kurt Busch got into the left rear of Gordon's car and pushed the fender in while battling for position. The rear of the car showed tire smoke in the corners for several laps as Gordon held the 4th spot. The next caution came on lap 125 for a wreck involving Aric Almirola, Brian Vickers, and Kyle Busch. Of the drivers involved, only Almirola was unable to continue. Pit stops followed with Gordon restarting in 9th place.

The complexion of the race changed when Harvick tagged Denny Hamlin while battling for the race lead. Hamlin hit the inside wall and came back into the path of Dale Earnhardt Jr, which eliminated both cars. Gordon took 7th from Matt Kenseth on lap 178 prior to the next caution for Michael Annett's wall contact. Pit stops ensued with Gordon making a mistake by overshooting the pit box. He needed to back up and restarted in 20th place. At the halfway point, Gordon had moved up to 14th place. He passed Greg Biffle and Paul Menard to take 12th place on lap 260. The next caution came on lap 263 for Danica Patrick's spin courtsey of Alex Bowman's front bumper. After a four-tire pit stop, Gordon restarted in 18th place. He steadily worked through race traffic and ran 15th on lap 300. However, he was unable to gain spots as the run progressed and held 15th on lap 350. On lap 355, he dropped to 16th place, the last car on the lead lap. He went a lap down on lap 356 prior to a caution for debris on lap 359.

Gordon restarted in 17th place, one lap down. He fell to 19th on lap 370 as he battled to be the first car one lap down. The next caution came for Marcos Ambrose's spin on lap 375. Gordon restarted 18th and was the first car one lap down. Gordon got back on the lead lap when a debris caution waved on lap 431. He restarted in 16th place with 63 to go. However, he battled handling and went a lap down with 5 to go.

Turning point
A mistake on pit road where Gordon overshot his pit box cost him valuable track position in the mid-stages of the race. He went from the top-10 back to 20th place.

JG's comments
"The contact didnít help. I made a mistake I over shot the pit getting in there one time and just stalled. We went from doing a two tire stop to doing a four tire stop. We missed the set-up a little bit tonight. It wasn't our best night, but we fought hard. I like the fight we put up there. We got back on the lead lap, and proud to finish 16th. It wasnít our best night."

EVEN THOUGH IT WASN'T THE BEST FINISH YOU GUYS ARE STILL PRETTY HOT
"Yeah we are. We keep bringing great race cars and race teams to the race track. Right now I'm kind of glad this track is not in the Chase because it was tricky tonight. It was just really challenging. I would hit one good lap and I couldn't do it for the next 10 laps. Then I would hit another good lap and just the way the rubber was building up in that outside groove it was really challenging. The conditions were a lot different than in practice. Looking back on it I wish I would have worked on a couple of more things in practice and been better tonight."


Jeff Wins At Michigan
PURE MICHIGAN 400 - Michigan International Speedway. Finish: VICTORY

Recap
For the second time in four weeks, Jeff Gordon scored an impressive victory in the NASCAR Cup series. Gordon pulled away from Joey Logano on the final restart with 17 laps to go en route to his 3rd victory of the season and 91st of his career. Gordon's 447th top-10 finish moved him past Bobby Allison into sole possession of 3rd all-time in NASCAR history.

Gordon started on the pole and opted for the outside line. Joey Logano took the race lead on the inside after exiting turn 2 on the opening lap. The first caution came on lap 4 after Kyle Busch made contact with the wall. Gordon ran 2nd to Logano until the competition caution on lap 20. Gordon came to pit road for 2 tires and restarted in 5th place on lap 24. The next caution came just after the restart when Danica Patrick spun in turn 2. The melee collected Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex, Justin Allagaier, Trevor Bayne, and Michael Annett. Gordon struggled on the restart on lap 30 and dropped to 7th place. He regrouped to take 6th from Jamie McMurray on lap 34 prior to a debris caution on lap 36. Gordon stayed out and restarted in 4th on lap 39. He quickly moved to 2nd on the outside line behind Logano. He tracked down Logano and took the race lead on lap 59 before coming to pit road for a green flag stop on lap 64.

Gordon lost a spot to Logano during the pit sequence as the crew removed a spring rubber. Gordon passed Logano for position as the pit sequence ended, thus giving Gordon the race lead once again. The next caution came on lap 96 for Kyle Larson's hard crash in turn 3. Gordon came to pit road for 4 tires and restarted in 5th place. He slipped to 7th on the inside line before taking 6th from Greg Biffle on lap 110. Five laps later, he re-entered the top-5 with a move around McMurray. Gordon advanced to 3rd on lap 125 with a pass on Dale Earnhardt Jr, and took the runner-up spot from Kevin Harvick on lap 133. He came to pit road for a green flag stop on lap 139. When the sequence cycled through, Gordon had the race lead. He extended his lead to 2 seconds before a green flag stop for two tires on lap 166. Logano cycled through with the race lead just ahead of Gordon after the round of stops.

A caution for Brad Keselowski's wall contact slowed the field on lap 168. Gordon lined up alongside Logano for the restart with 28 laps to go. Gordon dropped to 3rd on the inside line after the restart. A caution for Brian Vickers' spin with 26 laps to go brought another restart. He took 2nd when Kurt Busch slammed the wall with 23 laps to go, which brought out the caution. On the restart with 17 to go, Gordon shot into the lead heading into turn 1. He pulled away for his 3rd win of the season and 91st of his career.

Turning point
Gordon got a strong restart on the inside of Logano with 17 laps to go. He shot into the lead and never looked back.

JG's comments
"It wasn't easy. It's never easy to win at any of these tracks, especially when aerodynamics and track position mean so much. I thought we learned a lot the last time we were here on track position. Alan just called a perfect race. I kept getting on that inside lane and just not getting very good restarts. I knew it was going to get exciting with Kurt (Busch) and Joey (Logano). Those two are very, very aggressive; and of course Kurt got loose. That last restart was it. We had the car to win. Our car was amazing. But whoever got out in front had such a huge advantage. I got a good restart and Kevin (Harvick) for some reason, wasn't getting good restarts, so Joey was sort of out there by himself and I was able to get to his quarter. When I got to his quarter, I dragged him back and I was able to shoot to the bottom and get by. But he made a heck of an effort. I thought he was going to get back by me; he almost did. And I just needed a couple of laps for my tires to come in and all of a sudden we were out front and setting sail and the checkered flag was waving. This is just unbelievably awesome. I've got to say hi to Ingrid and Ella and Leo back home. They couldn't come today. But we're celebrating your honor here and this is just amazing. This is fantastic."

WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS CAR AND THE RULES PACKAGE THAT IS PLAYING INTO YOUR HANDS THIS YEAR?
"It's everything. It's Hendrick Motorsports and the job that they do, collectively, with all of our teammates and the engineers. Everybody who is building the chassis and the bodies and the cars back at the shop; the engines are amazing. And then, I've got to give so much credit to Alan Gustafson and his crew. This guy is a great leader. I knew that he had this in him and he's just been showing it by bringing great race cars every weekend. Today it was more than just a great race car, it took the whole team effort and making great calls and of course, I had a good restart again. That was fun. And these guys; they're just awesome. Rick Hendrick is here and I love celebrating wins with him."

TALK ABOUT THAT LAST RESTART AND HOW YOU WERE ABLE TO GET BY JOEY LOGANO
"I had a couple of different ones that didn't go so well today. On that inside lane it was tough. Joey was so aggressive and good on the restarts. His car could really take off. But Kevin (Harvick) behind him was having a little bit of trouble on the restarts so he kind of got out there on his own and I got a really good start and I just got to his quarter just before we got to turn one, his left-rear. I was able to drag him back a little bit and when that happened it just gave me the momentum and allowed me to get ahead of him. I just didn't lift. Went to the bottom, didn't lift. I was on the inside of him on a previous restart and I kind of learned what not to do on that one. I knew my car was good enough, but even when we got out front with this car, Joey had a good run at us. His car was just turning so good at the beginning of a run that he got back to my bumper got me loose and I thought it was over at that point. Luckily I was able to stay on the outside of him and had a little push from Kevin (Harvick) that time to get by him."

TAKE US THROUGH THAT MOVE
"He could just attack the entry of the corner. Those Penske cars all year long have been able to drive in the corner so deep and get the car to turn for whatever reason we seem to be better than them on the long runs. I knew getting out front was going to be a huge advantage. I tried to hedge toward the bottom. I knew that was the way it was going. I just had to lift early to keep the front-end cutting. When I did he got to me and it started loosening up the back end. I tried to stay in the gas as much as I could and keep as much momentum because I knew he was going to get inside of me and I was just hoping I could stay with him and I was able to. When I was able to stay on his quarter panel and when Kevin got behind me it just gave me a big shove and push into turn three. Those guys got side-by-side and at that point I knew it was over if we just could get to the checkered flag."

IT'S BEEN 13 YEARS SINCE YOU WON HERE. IT'S ALSO BEEN 13 YEARS SINCE A CHAMPIONSHIP YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE DRIVE FOR FIVE NOW AS YOU HAVE WON A THIRD TIME THIS YEAR AS YOU ARE BACK IN THE POINTS LEAD?
"As I told you before the race started our Chase has already started. This team is championship caliber, but we have a lot of work to do. It's going to be tough and we want to put ourselves in the mindset of right now we are in it. We don't want anything to change and do anything different when we get to Chicago. Other than keep going and charging for those wins. That is what we did today. I'm just so proud. Thanks to all the fans. We had an awesome Michigan crowd here today. To win here in Michigan in the backyard of Chevrolet driving this car is always special."


Power Down
CHEEZ-IT AT THE GLEN - Watkins Glen International. Finish: 34th

Recap
After capturing the pole position at Watkins Glen, it looked as if Jeff Gordon would be a serious contender at the track for the first time since 2007. He led the opening 29 laps, and seemed to be running down race leader Marcos Ambrose just after the halfway point. However, a power issue forced Gordon to coast to the pit area on lap 51. He lost 4 laps in the process. It was just the third time in the last 24 races where Gordon failed to post a top-15 finish.

Gordon started on the pole and led the opening laps before Cole Whitt's crash brought out the caution on lap 9. He pulled away on the restart with Marcos Ambrose tracking him in 2nd place. The first round of green flag stops came on lap 29. Gordon returned to the race in 2nd behind Ambrose. At the halfway point, he ran more than 2 seconds behind Ambrose. However, Gordon slowed on the track on lap 51 and coasted to a stop on the track. He received a push from a safety vehicle to go to the garage area. He lost 4 laps while repairs were made.

Just as Gordon returned to the race, a hard crash involving Ryan Newman and Michael McDowell forced a red flag condition. The race was red-flagged for nearly 90 minutes while repairs to the track barrier were made. Gordon ran in 36th place after the restart and came to pit road with 22 laps to go for fuel and tires. A caution with 12 laps to go saw Gordon move up to 35th place, but he remained 4 laps down. A caution for Jimmie Johnson and Regan Smith's crash after the restart with 9 laps to go slowed the field. Gordon took 34th due to Smith's misfortune. With 4 laps to go, Denny Hamlin crashed into the barrels at pit entrance, which necessitated a clean-up period and a 20-minute red flag delay. Gordon posted a 34th place finish.

Turning point
Gordon lost power on the track on lap 51 and needed a push to the pit area. He lost 4 laps in the process.

JG's comments
"I was having so much fun out there leading and battling with Marcos Ambrose who I have so much respect for on these tracks. We got a little bit behind on the [first pit sequence]. Marcos came in a little before us. Between that -- and I got held up a little on that lap -- we were charging back getting to him. Then I came off the carousel and all the power went out. I flipped batteries and did everything that we do in that situation. It just never had any power. So, I'm not sure what caused it. We changed the battery and had power."

"I've got to get with the team and find out what caused it. It looks like we had a battery go dead, two batteries go dead. I didn't see anything on the volts meter that stood out or anything really going on there that was alarming. Everything was going well. Our car was strong. I feel like we were in control there when we were out front. We got a little bit behind on the pit stop sequence, but we were coming back. I was just having a blast out there. It's just great to be that competitive here at Watkins Glen again and I would rather these things happen now so we can determine what caused it and make sure it doesn't happen again because you can't have those kinds of things happen once this Chase starts."

IN REGARDS TO MORE SAFETY AT WATKINS GLEN
"We can always do more to be safe. It doesn't matter what we have out there. There are always ways to make it safer. Unfortunately I've been a part of incidents over there off the carousel. It's a very fast portion of the race track and when things happen cars seem to get knocked back out into the track. But what I question right now from what I saw is the rubber. The Armco barrier I think did its job. Softened the impact, tore the car up, but prevented the car from going through there. So you don't want a concrete wall you want a safer barrier, but that is tough to do on a track like this, multi-purpose track. That rubber wall with the tires just sucks the cars in, spins them around and spits them out. I definitely think there are areas on the track where it's good like down in turn one, but I think there are other parts of the track where there could be something better than that."


Strategy Games At Pocono
PENNSYLVANIA 400 - Pocono Raceway. Finish: 6th

Recap
Dale Earnhardt Jr swept both events at Pocono Raceway in 2014 after a late two-tire change put him in position for the victory. Jeff Gordon dominated the event, having led 63 laps. However, a four-tire change for Gordon put him behind Earnhardt Jr in the closing stages. He was unable to make up the deficit and finished 6th. Gordon remains the NASCAR points leader by 17 points over Earnhardt Jr. The finish was the 446th top-10 of Gordon's Cup series career -- tying him with Bobby Allison for the 3rd highest total in NASCAR history.

Gordon started 5th and dropped two spots on the opening lap before moving back to 5th on lap 3 as the tires came up to temperature. He took 4th from Kevin Harvick on lap 4. The first caution waved on lap 9 for Jimmie Johnson's cut tire. On the restart, Gordon took 3rd from Kyle Larson. The next caution came on lap 16 after Danica Patrick drilled the wall following a flat tire. Gordon dropped a spot to Larson on the restart, but regrouped to take back the 3rd spot on lap 22. He took the runner-up spot from Harvick on lap 26 prior to a caution for Landon Cassill's crash. Gordon came to pit road for 4 tires and restarted in 14th place after several cars stayed on the track. He gained 4 spots on the restart and moved to 9th place on lap 35. At the 100-mile mark, Gordon ran in 7th place.

Gordon re-entered the top-5 on lap 41 by passing Casey Mears, and took 4th from Logano one lap later. He passed Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex on lap 44 to take the 2nd position. Gordon inherited the race lead when Kurt Busch came to pit road for a green flag stop on lap 45. The next caution waved on lap 51 for Joe Nemechek's wall contact courtesy of Kasey Kahne's front bumper. Gordon gave up the race lead on lap 66 for a green flag pit stop. After the pit stop sequence concluded on lap 79, Gordon returned to the race lead. He led the next 16 laps before coming to pit road for a green flag stop on lap 95. Gordon re-assumed the top spot on lap 106 when Matt Kenseth came to pit road for a stop.

The next caution waved on lap 112 for Jimmie Johnson's wall impact. Gordon stayed on the track and remained the lead. On the restart, a major wreck ensued on the backstretch when Denny Hamlin lost control and spun in front of the field. Tony Stewart, Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, AJ Allmendinger, Paul Menard, Brian Vickers, Martin Truex, Aric Almirola, and Justin Allgaier sustained heavy damage. He reached the 24,000 laps led career milestone by leading his 51st lap during the race at Pocono. After a lengthy clean-up following the crash, Gordon led the field to the restart with 34 laps to go. He came to pit road for his final green flag stop with 28 laps to go. A four-tire change put Gordon back onto the track in 8th place due to drivers ahead of him on different fuel and tire strategies.

A caution for AJ Allmendinger's wall contact brought out the caution with 22 to go. The caution allowed Gordon to close the deficit to the leaders and put him in position for the victory on fresher tires. He restarted on the inside line in 7th place with 17 to go. Gordon dropped back to 9th after Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray went by. He battled a loose handling condition in the closing stages, but moved to 8th with 11 to go. Gordon entered the top-5 with 8 to go after passing McMurray and Greg Biffle. The caution waved with 7 to go after Kurt Busch hit the wall after cutting a tire. On the restart with 4 to go, Gordon dropped to 6th where he finished the race.

Turning point
A green flag pit stop with 28 laps to go, and a subsequent 4-tire change, put Gordon back in traffic and out of clean air.

JG's comments
"Those guys had to do the exact opposite strategy of us. I thought Alan and the team did amazing today. We had the dominant car, but you had to have track position. There at the end we didn't have it. I think if we would have started in the outside lanes, we would have been alright. My restarts weren't terrible today. They weren't bad. When we were on the outside, we could really make up some spots. Unfortunately, those last couple of restarts we were on the inside. With Dale Jr getting out in front of us through the pit sequence, there was nothing we could do. He was really good. Whoever got out front -- him or me -- I think was going to win the race. I'm still really happy with how well our car performed today. That's encouraging and has my confidence sky high."


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