September News

Get What You Need
SYLVANIA 300. New Hampshire Motor Speedway: Finish: 4th

Rewind: After a disappointing finish at Chicagoland Speedway, Jeff Gordon needed a solid effort at New Hampshire. Although he led the most laps and seemed to be in position to claim the victory with under 100 laps to go, a mistake on pit road forced Gordon to conserve fuel in the final laps. He finished a solid 4th -- after leading 79 laps in the race -- and moved from 11th to 5th in the points standings. It was Gordon's fifth top-6 finish in the last six races.

Gordon started 7th and moved to 4th within four laps. He took 3rd from Brian Vickers on lap 6, but was unable to make significant headway closing on Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne at the front of the field. As the leaders came upon lapped traffic, Gordon closed in on Kahne's rear bumper. The handling on the DuPont Chevrolet became tighter later in the run and Gordon maintained 3rd place. He stayed on the track to lead a lap during a cycle of green flag pit stops on lap 64. Gordon took the runner-up spot from Brian Vickers on lap 68. A debris caution slowed the field on lap 86. Pit stops followed with Gordon exiting in 3rd place after taking two tires. He restarted 5th due to Mark Martin and Juan Pablo Montoya staying on the track.

At the 100-lap mark, Gordon ran in 4th place. He took 3rd from Newman on lap 112 and moved to 2nd when Martin pitted on lap 140. Gordon re-took the race lead when Kahne pitted on lap 147. A caution for Landon Cassill's wall contact brought out the caution on lap 155. After pitting, Gordon restarted on the outside of Kahne on lap 161. He moved ahead of Kahne in turn 1 to take the lead. Matt Kenseth's spin on lap 173 slowed the field and erased Gordon's lead. Gordon once again pulled away on the restart and led comfortably at the 200-lap mark. He came to pit road during a cycle of green flag stops just as he ran out of gas on lap 231. Gordon cycled through in 4th place. He took 3rd from Kahne on lap 253 and closed to within 2 seconds of Clint Bowyer for the race lead. However, a problem on the final stop during the gas can exchange forced crew chief Alan Gustafson to ask Gordon to save fuel. He backed off the throttle and dropped 10 seconds off the race lead into 6th place. Gordon moved into the top-5 with 15 laps to go when Kahne pitted. He moved up to 4th when Bowyer ran out of gas.

Road ahead: The series visits Dover Speedway for the second time in 2011. Gordon tested at the track in April, but has failed to contend for a Dover victory in the last few years. He has just one top-10 finish in the last 5 races at Dover. Gordon will be in the Drive To End Hunger car at Dover -- the first time in his Cup career that he won't have the DuPont oval on the hood at the 1-mile track.

JG's comments

"I'm just glad we finished fourth. It is tough conditions to race in (saving fuel). I don't think that we wanted to see back-to-back fuel mileage races like this, but, it is kind of the name of the game these days. I don't know, somehow we misjudged how far we could go on that second to the last run and we ran out. We didn't feel like we were even close to running out. So it just shows you how important every little detail. I ran a little bit fast that run because we were out front in clean air and the DuPont Chevrolet was just driving unbelievable. We were just setting the pace so it is unfortunate that that happened. There at the end, conserved fuel. It is something that we need to be better at. We did it and we made it and we finished fourth so we'll take that. We made some gains in points. But, necessarily overall to the leader. But another great run by Tony Stewart. Those guys, we knew they would be tough here. I don't know if we expected them to be quite as tough as they were last week at Chicago. But, he's on a roll now. We have eight more to put together."

"It is frustrating for everybody on this team. None of us want to put ourselves in that position. We were expecting to go a couple of more laps. We're making great horsepower but we're not getting good fuel mileage. But Tony has figured out a way to do it so you have to give those guys credit. They have the same engines we have and we have got to do a better job at it. Iíve got to a better job at it. At that point when I ran out, I didn't know I had to save fuel. I thought we were in a window and we werejust going to come in and do a green flag stop. Oh gosh, it is just frustrating. We got back out there. Once I got behind guys like Tony I was really just too tight to pass him anyway. I was certainly wasn't expecting to have to conserve as much as we did there. But to pull off a top-five, we got what we could out of it. We didn't need to take any chances like we did last week at Chicago. All we can do is look at the good side and it is good that we made gains in the points. We arenít making enough gains on the leaders. That is the only frustrating part."

Trouble From The Start
GEICO 400. Chicagoland Speedway: Finish: 24th

Rewind: The first race in the Chase for the Championship was a struggle for Jeff Gordon and the DuPont team. After battling handling issues for the balance of the day, Gordon ran out of gas with 2 laps to go and finished 24th in the Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. It was his lowest finish in a Chase opening race as he had previously scored all top-15's in Chase openers. He fell from 3rd to 11th in the series standings and trails Kevin Harvick by 25 points -- essentially more than half of a race.

Gordon started 23rd and battled a tight handling condition right off the bat. He dropped to 27th by the time the competition caution waved at lap 30. He fell as low as 29th on lap 45, before rallying back to 23rd on lap 70. A debris caution allowed for trackbar adjustments, and Gordon moved into the top-20 on lap 80. He was running 17th on lap 110 when he felt the right front tire going down. He came to pit road and lost a lap. However, the unscheduled stop didn't hurt him as the field cycled through a green flag pit sequence a few laps later. Neverthless, he battled loose handling and lost a lap as Carl Edwards went by on lap 126. Gordon put himself in position for the free pass by being the first car one lap down. He received it on lap 164 when the caution waved for Jamie McMurray's engine.

With 100 laps to go, he restarted 21st and moved up to 14th place with 65 laps to go. Gordon gained two spots on pit road and restarted 12th with 59 to go. He dropped a spot before a debris caution with 53 to go. Gordon took gas only on pit road and restarted 12th with 51 to go -- at the edge of his fuel window. He dropped back to 16th with 30 laps to go as he began conserving fuel. He dropped to 17th place with 5 laps to go. Gordon ran out of fuel on the final lap and finished two laps down in 24th place.

Road ahead: The second race of the Chase takes the NASCAR Cup series to New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Gordon's flat track performance has remained steady throughout the 2011 season -- as he posted strong efforts at Phoenix and Loudon earlier this year.

JG's comments

"We were just off. We didn't qualify good. That got us behind right there. It was just one of those days. You know. We had a right front tear apart. We actually got the car halfway decent there at the end. Then it came down to saving fuel and we obviously didnít save enough fuel."

"I don't think the setup was as far off as just the track position. When we had the problem with the right front, we weren't very good right then. Between the handling as well as track position as well as the problem with the right front, it didnít do us any favors. We got back on the lead lap and drove back up there and I thought we were decent right then. We have to get a little bit better. We have to qualify better; we canít have days like we had today. Thatís for sure."

Short Run Ending
PISTACHIOS 400. Richmond Int'l Raceway: Finish: 3rd

Rewind: Jeff Gordon patiently worked through an early crashfest and mid-race handling issues to take the race lead with 23 laps to go at Richmond International Raceway. However, a late caution flag resulted in Gordon losing the lead on pit road. He dropped another spot on the restart and finished 3rd. It was Gordon's 9th top-10 finish in the last 11 races as he heads into the Chase for the Championship. Gordon will enter the Chase trailing Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick by 3 pts.

Gordon started 17th and moved up a spot before the first caution for Andy Lally's spin on lap 3. After another caution, Gordon worked his way to 12th place on lap 25. Gordon got into the left rear of Kasey Kahne's car on lap 27. His future Hendrick Motorsports teammate spun into the wall to bring out a caution flag. A caution for Marcos Ambrose's spin on lap 38 slowed the field once again with Gordon up to 10th. On the restart, Gordon faded to 14th before Kahne slammed the wall on lap 52 after contact from Brian Vickers -- due to Ambrose tapping Vickers. Gordon came to pit road and restarted in 21st place. He moved up to the 12th spot by lap 100, and took 8th place 25 laps later. Incidents involving Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch slowed the field near the halfway point.

Gordon's car came to life following a stop on lap 231. He advanced from 12th to 6th by lap 280 before a caution for Jeff Burton's wall contact. Gordon came to pit road on lap 298 after Joey Logano's blown engine slowed the field. He restarted in 14th place and quickly moved to 7th before another caution with 90 laps to go. Gordon came to pit road and took four tires. He restarted in 5th place with 86 laps to go. Gordon moved into 4th with 80 laps to go, and took 3rd from Carl Edwards two laps later. He worked his way around Greg Biffle for the runner-up spot with 65 to go and closed in on race leader Kevin Harvick. Gordon took the lead from Harvick with 23 laps to go and began pulling away. However, Paul Menard's spin with 17 to go brought out the caution.

The leaders came to pit road with Gordon exiting in 2nd place behind Harvick. He dropped to 3rd behind Carl Edwards after the restart and slipped to 4th when Kyle Busch went by. He passed Busch with 8 laps to go to re-take 3rd place. However, he was unable to close in on Harvick or Edwards and finished 3rd.

Road ahead: The Chase for the Championship begins at Chicagoland Speedway. This is the first time Chicagoland will host a Chase race. The 10-race Chase resets the points and determines the series champion.

JG's comments:

"This team has me excited. We struggled tonight. We didn't have the best car throughout the race. To be up there & take the lead w 20 to go and have a shot at winning was awesome. This team has great momentum right now"

"My car all night was not good on the outside. To know with 20 to go you're driving away with the lead, I was feeling pretty good about that. I didn't want to see a caution. It was interesting to see a Childress car (Menard) sitting in the grass."

COMPARISON 2011 TO 2007:
"In 2007, while we gave Jimmie a great run and great battle, I feel they had the momentum. We're competing with everybody out there right now. And lately I feel we're doing better than most on a lot of different race tracks. 2007 was a good year, but i'm not taking for granted where we're at. We've had to work hard to make improvements in our cars and our team... The way this team has performed, there's not one track in these next 10 weeks that scares me."

Triumph On Tuesday!
ADVOCARE 500. Atlanta Motor Speedway: Finish: 1st

Rewind: Finally, Jeff Gordon has captured his record-breaking 85th career win. Gordon's third win of 2011 made him the winningest driver in NASCAR's modern era (post 1971). Gordon led the most laps in the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but needed to use all of his skill to hold off a charge from Jimmie Johnson in the closing stages. Johnson closed in with 10 laps to go, but Gordon held his line and bested his Hendrick Motorsports teammate for the win.

Nearly 40 hours after the AdvoCare 500 was scheduled to begin, the drivers took the green flag under overcast skies on Tuesday morning. Gordon started 5th and dropped to 7th by the end of the first lap. On lap 5, he took 6th from Martin Truex Jr. Gordon re-entered the top-5 with a lap 6 pass on Matt Kenseth. He took 4th from Brian Vickers and ran 3rd when Bobby Labonte spun on lap 12 to bring out the caution flag. Gordon pitted for tires and restarted in 21st after 17 cars stayed on the track. On the restart, he moved to 18th within two laps by taking advantage of newer tires. On lap 20, Gordon ran in 13th and moved into the top-10 just three laps later. By lap 25, Gordon closed in on Kevin Harvick for 6th place. He moved around Harvick and Tony Stewart to re-enter the top-5. After pit stops for the competition caution on lap 31, Gordon restarted in 3rd place. He moved to 2nd on the restart and took the lead from Kyle Busch on lap 46. Gordon held the lead through a green flag pit stop sequence on lap 79 and opened a 2.5-second lead. However, Labonte's second spin of the day on lap 94 slowed the field and erased Gordon's lead.

Gordon swapped the lead briefly with Busch on the restart, but once again pulled out to a comfortable lead by lap 102. A debris caution on lap 130 slowed the field and pit stops followed. Gordon's crew inserted a spring rubber and dropped three spots on pit road. He restarted 4th on lap 135 and moved to 2nd within two laps behind Matt Kenseth. He re-assumed the top spot with a pass on lap 146. However, Kenseth passed Gordon for the lead on lap 166. Two laps later, Carl Edwards sent Gordon back to 3rd. On lap 170, Denny Hamlin took a position from Gordon as the handling on the #24 car went away. Following a green flag pit stop sequence, the caution waved on lap 175 after David Gilliland stopped at the entrance to pit road. Gordon ran in 3rd place at the caution as a light rain mist began falling on the track. At the 200-lap mark, Gordon was more than 2 seconds behind Kenseth and Edwards when the caution waved for the rain mist. Gordon lost 5 spots on pit road after a track bar adjustment and came off pit road in 8th. As rain began falling, JJ Yeley and Landon Cassill stayed on the track, thus dropping Gordon to 10th. The race was red-flagged on lap 210.

After nearly a one-hour delay, the race went back under green on lap 220. Gordon quickly gained 3 spots and moved to 5th within one lap. However, rain began falling on the backstretch which forced a yellow flag. The green waved again on lap 231 with Gordon lined up on the inside of Denny Hamlin. Gordon fell back to 8th within a lap of the restart, but regrouped to take 7th from David Ragan with 90 laps to go. He moved back into the top-5 with 88 laps to go. Clint Bowyer's wall contact brought out the caution flag on lap 240. Gordon restarted in 4th after gaining a spot on pit road. With 60 to go, he took the runner-up spot from Carl Edwards. He took the race lead from Johnson with 49 laps to go and held the lead through a cycle of green flag pit stops. In the closing stages, Johnson closed in on Gordon as the Hendrick Motorsports teammates battled door to door over the final 10 laps. Gordon held off Johnson by using the high line off the corners en route to his 3rd win of 2011 and his record-breaking 85th career win.

  • This is the first time since May 2007 that Gordon led at least 50 laps in three consecutive races.
  • Gordon led more laps in the AdvoCare 500 than he had in the previous 7 Atlanta races combined.

    Road ahead: A quick turnaround from the rain-delayed week in Atlanta brings the NASCAR series to Richmond for Saturday night's race. It's the final race before the Chase for the Championship begins. Gordon had a strong effort at Richmond in the spring, but a hard crash on the backstretch in the closing stages ended his night.

    JG's comments

    (In Victory Lane) "Oh my goodness, our car was so strong at the beginning of a run & we used it up there at the end. Our car was tight after the rain delay and we had to free it up. That was a lot of fun racing with (Jimmie). I was slipping, he was slipping. What an incredible victory. This team is on a roll. I don't care if it's Sunday or Monday or Tuesday, NASCAR fans coming out to support us, man that's awesome"

    "Not too many people get to do that these days, and I didnít think I was going to be able to do it either. We got ahead of him on that run before that. The track was really tight after that rain delay, and our car was too tight at the beginning but boy did it come on strong at the end. I could tell the track was freeing up a little bit, but it is hard to make adjustments when your car is that good. I donít even know if Alan ( Gustafson, Crew Chief) didnít make any adjustments , but the car took off there it felt awesome and I was just trying to keep a distance between me and Jimmie ( Johnson) because I knew I had to manage the tires a little bit, I was a little bit longer run. But boy did it get loose, when it got loose it fell off in a big way it nearly came around, and Jimmie just drove it really straight and drove me clean. I could hear his wheels spinning and revs pick up when he was underneath me, that forced me to pick mine up and spin a little bit. A couple of times I slipped up and let him get underneath me, but somehow we kept the momentum and was able to stay on the outside of him. I think having that outside lane in one and two was a bonus for us. Great race by Jimmie and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports, hi to Rick, that was him on the phone I was talking to. He is excited to have a one-two battle like that."

    "YES ( laughs) it's just the timing. This race team is unbelievable right now. Those last two pit stops were as good as it can possibly get on pit road. The racecar today was as good of a race car today as you could have asked for. The stuff that we are doing, we're having a blast out here right now. I'm just excited to go to the race track. It doesn't matter where we go, our cars are competitive, we're having a blast out there and I think we have more to come when this chase starts."

    "We used it up there in the end and I was slipping and sliding. The track really changed a lot after that rain delay. Our car was real, real tight and we had to free it up. I tell you what, that was a lot of fun racing with him (Jimmie Johnson). I was slipping and he was slipping. The throttle control was very tough there at the end. There were a couple of moments where I really thought he got us. But what an incredible victory for this team. And I know we spoiled the Sprint Summer Showdown, so I didn't mind sitting back there for a while waiting to get over here to Victory Lane because it was just an incredible day. This team is on a roll. I don't care if it's Sunday or Monday or Tuesday; the NASCAR fans coming out like this to support us and to have a race like that, man, that's awesome. It feels awesome. Again, I've got to thank Drive to End Hunger and DuPont and Pepsi and all of our sponsors. We're just so thankful and what an incredible day."

    "Yeah, when I saw him get real loose off of (Turn) 4, coming to take the white, I could breathe a little sigh of relief because I could kind of maintain down there in (Turns) 3 and 4. I just got so, so loose. And he was rolling a little bit better than me through the middle down in (Turns) 1 and 2. I could maintain the outside, but all he had to do was to get to my inside off of (Turn) 2 and it would have been hard to beat him back to the line because we just lost so much grip there. So, it gave me a little breathing room there and I was able to just be real smooth and easy with it through (Turns) 1 and 2, which wasn't easy, and then just baby-it through 3 and 4. So he had one or two shots at me that I really thought we were done. I got so loose. But once he got to me and we were able to maintain, I said okay we've just got to fight him to the checkered flag."

    "I think this is turning out to be a great year. Alan Gustafson (crew chief) and all the engineers and all the guys that work so hard; the awesome pit crew, man we're having a lot of fun right now. And when you can drive a race car that drives like that one, it makes me look like a hero but they're the heroes in my mind."

    "I totally forgot about that. I've got to say hi to Ingrid and Leo and Ella, Ella, I hope you had a good day at school today, baby; it was her first day. And I know how excited they are and I can't wait to get home and see you guys. But 85, wow, that is unbelievable. I'm just blown away at the kind of day we had and the kind of year that we're having. I just feel rejuvenated in such a big way. It's because of this race team and the race cars I get to drive. 85 yeah! I can't wait to get home and celebrate with these guys and my family. 85.. wow."

    Tightening Down The Stretch
    PURE MICHIGAN 400. Michigan Speedway: Finish: 6th

    Rewind: Kyle Busch posted his fourth victory of the 2011 season with a victory in the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan Speedway. Busch led 22 laps and held off Jimmie Johnson on a green/white/checkered restart to score the 23rd victory of his Cup series career.

    Jeff Gordon started 9th but dropped positions right after the green flag waved. He regrouped to work back up to 9th by lap 10, and was running 6th at the first caution flag on lap 29. After the restart, Gordon moved into the top-5. At lap 52, Gordon took 3rd place and made in-roads on the Roush Racing leaders of Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth. After a caution flag for Bobby Labonte's spin, Gordon lost position on the ensuing restart. He regrouped and took 5th from Kyle Busch on lap 62. However, overcast skies and wind impacted the handling on the DuPont Chevrolet. Busch re-took the spot from Gordon as he remained in the top-10. A caution at the halfway point brought the field to pit road.

    After taking two tires, Gordon moved to 2nd place on lap 110. Three laps later, Gordon took the race lead from Matt Kenseth. He led for 11 laps before Kenseth re-took the lead when Gordon's water temperature increased due to trash on the front of the car. Gordon ditched the debris by bump-drafting Kenseth and then regained the top spot. He came to pit road for a green flag pit stop on lap 138. Gordon slipped to 2nd after the round of stops. Two laps later he fell to 3rd when Busch went by. As the tires came up to pressure, Gordon passed Busch and Kenseth to take the lead. Final pit stops came under caution with Gordon leaving pit road behind Matt Kenseth. He dropped to 5th on the restart with 25 laps to go while battling a tight handling condition. Mark Martin sent Gordon back to 6th with 12 laps to go. A caution for Kurt Busch's wall contact set up a green/white/checkered finish. Gordon held on to post a 6th place finish -- his third top-6 finish in the last four races.

    Road ahead: The annual night race at Bristol Motor Speedway is next on the docket. Before that, Gordon is scheduled for a mid-week test session at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Colorado.

    JG's comments

    "We were really good in clean air and when we got our front we were able to show that. I think Kyle (Busch) was the best car and he won the race but I felt like we were the second-best car and when we got the lead we could really show that. I just didnít get clear of the No. 17 and then the No. 2 got in there and when that happened, it just killed us. We got real, real tight behind those guys and we got a bunch of debris on the grill that started messing with us and the temperature going up and we got loose, but hey all in all a solid day for our DuPont Chevrolet. You know I love the effort and what kind of race cars we are bringing to the race track right now. It's a lot of fun out there and you know I thought we were going to be a little bit better than that and at time we were but right there at the end I think we just needed a little bit better track position so I guess I didnít do a good job on the restart."

    "I don't know if we ever stopped focusing on winning but I agree you can take some more risks and take more chances in this position. I hear we moved up even another spot in the points. I just love the consistency and solidness of this team right now and the position that we're in to go get those wins. We've got one more before we can qualify for that Sprint Million and we really want to make a fan a millionaire out there and get a million for our charity as well. Hopefully we can get that done at Bristol."

    Timing Is Everything
    HELUVA GOOD AT THE GLEN. Watkins Glen Int'l: Finish: 13th

    Rewind: An ill-timed caution flag with 25 laps to go ended Jeff Gordon's chances for his first Watkins Glen victory since 2001. Nevertheless, he posted a 13th place finish and held onto 7th in the series points standings.

    Under overcast skies, Gordon started 17th and moved into the top-10 by lap 11. He advanced as high as 7th before a pit stop sequence on lap 26. The first caution waved on lap 28 for Greg Biffle running out of gas on the track. Gordon advanced up to 3rd on lap 32 due to pit strategy. He took the race lead on lap 40 after Juan Pablo Montoya pitted, before losing the top spot to Kyle Busch on lap 44. At the halfway point on lap 45, he ran in 3rd place. Gordon pitted under caution on lap 50 after Kurt Busch wrecked. He restarted in 17th and again moved up through traffic. Due to a pit sequence, he moved to 2nd on lap 64. He took the race lead on lap 65, but was caught on the track when Denny Hamlin crashed in turn 1 -- on the lap where he wanted to come to pit road. Gordon eventually pitted under the caution and restarted in 20th place. He moved up to 13th with 4 laps to go before a debris caution slowed the field and set up a green/white/checkered finish.

    On the final lap, Gordon eased around Tony Stewart when he went through the grass in the inner loop and finished 13th. It was his ninth top-13 finish in the last 10 races as he held 7th in the points standings.

    Road ahead: The series heads to Michigan Speedway for the second time in 2011. Jeff Gordon struggled with handling in the first Michigan race and improvement on the 2-mile oval will be critical going forward as NASCAR closes in on the Chase for the Championship.

    JG's comments

    "We should be 11th, depending on when they threw the caution. But when Tony Stewart spun, it collected a couple of guys who were in front of us and we made it through pretty clean. So I believe we're 11th. Regardless, we just didn't have the caution fall our way today. We really had a fast race car. I'm really proud of this team. We got up there in the top five and we were able to maintain a really good pace. We knew that we were a little bit shorter on fuel than some other guys, so we just needed the cautions to fall right for us; and as soon as it was time for us to come to pit road, the caution came out and that hurt us pretty bad. So we drove from like 21st all the way up there to 13th and I think we had a chance of getting a couple of them on that restart; and then of course Tony had his issues. So, it was a pretty wild and crazy day as usual on these road courses with double file restarts and we survived."

    "It was. At the beginning, it was pretty hairy. It started misting pretty good and there wasn't very good visibility for the spotters. From a driverís standpoint it wasnít too bad. But it was unpredictable in trying to guess at it from a crew chief standpoint was pretty tough. You never know when the rain is coming around here."

    "We had a lot of pressure. We had our car with follow me and our social media channels there on the back so I had some pressure to get up there and make sure we had some guys following us. But we had an awesome race car. Right from the beginning I could tell we had a pretty good race car. We drove up there a little bit, but then we got some track position and were able to stay with the leader and I felt like a few adjustments away from; I don't know about a winning car, but a really good race car. And then the caution caught us out. We were coming to pit road that lap and then the caution caught us out. So we fell back to 21st or something and drove back up to around 13th. These road courses have become wild and crazy and very entertaining on those restarts in the closing laps. So we were able to survive. I donít know what happened to Tony (Stewart) when he spun through the grass, but we were able to get by a couple of guys before they threw the caution. So it was a pretty good day for our team. We were much better than that, but we'll take that finish."

    "Well it is faster, but you canít have walls like that, do you know what I mean? You're going to find those places eventually, so you gotta fix them. Unfortunately this one has been found before and weíve seen what can happen. To me, weíre very fortunate that we donít have any injuries coming out of that because that could have been much worse. Obviously, it looked bad and I hope those guys are all right. But, anytime you're in a race car you're going to be trying to go fast and accidents are going to happen. And when they do, youíve got to make sure you've got a clear path for cars to exit the race track. In this situation, they've got a wall that spits a car, not only a big impact, but spits it right back out into oncoming traffic."

    Obstacle Course
    GOOD SAM RV 500. Pocono Raceway: Finish: 6th

    Rewind: Jeff Gordon made the biggest move through the field at Pocono Raceway after starting 31st and finishing in the 6th position. However, it was due to his starting spot -- and lack of track position during the event -- that hindered him from challenging for the victory.

    After contact with the turn 2 wall in qualifying, Gordon started in 31st place. He was unable to make significant headway in the opening stages and ran 28th when the first caution waved for Kyle Busch's spin on lap 13. After a pit stop, he moved up to 25th on lap 19 before David Ragan's spin in turn three. Gordon held the low line and easily avoided Ragan's spinning car. He stayed on the track during the caution and moved up to 21st for the restart. However, he struggled with handling and dropped to 26th by lap 25. Following a green flag stop on lap 41, Gordon advanced to the 22nd position. Twenty laps later, he moved up to 18th and held the spot through a round of green flag pit stops. Gordon ran in 17th place on lap 70 and took over 15th on lap 72. Another cycle of green flag stops occurred about 15 laps before the halfway point. Gordon ran in 13th place after the round of stops. A timed debris caution at lap 100 brought the field to pit road. Gordon restarted 13th and moved into the top-10 on lap 108. He took 8th from Brad Keselowski on lap 112, and ran in 6th on lap 119 when he passed Clint Bowyer. A caution for rain came on lap 123 and was followed by a red flag period for nearly two hours.

    The skies cleared and track drying began around 3:30pm. Shortly after 5pm, the drivers strapped back into their cars to complete the event. Pit stops followed after the red flag was lifted and Gordon restarted in 7th place on lap 131. With 48 laps to go, Gordon came to pit road for a four-tire change. He cycled through the sequence in 7th place. He took 6th place from Joey Logano with 36 to go. Gordon's final pit stop came with 27 laps to go. A caution flag for Juan Pablo Montoya's spin with 21 laps to go slowed the field and brought Gordon closer to the leaders. He stayed out during the caution and restarted in 5th place. Ryan Newman passed Gordon for 5th with 13 to go. Gordon remained 7th in the series standings after posting his 7th top-10 finish in the last 9 races.

    Road ahead: The series visits the Watkins Glen International road course in upstate New York. Since his last victory at The Glen in 2001, he has struggled on the 2.4-mile course. In the last 9 races there, his highest finish in 9th -- with 5 finishes of 21st or worse.

    JG's comments

    "I'm happy with our finish considering the way the day started and where we started, deep in the field. Once we got up there in the top six or seven, I really thought we would have a shot at getting further to the front. I don't know, we were just missing a little bit of something. There at the end it came down a little bit to pit strategy so we fell back one position with the No. 39 (Ryan Newman) getting up there pretty quick with his two tires. Had a shot at getting back at him then Jimmie (Johnson) and the No. 22 (Kurt Busch) got together and we just ran out time."

    "The car was tighter after the ran than I thought it would be. I thought the car would be loose if anything. We were a little bit tight before. So, yes, I think we guessed wrong a little bit on that and made some adjustments to make it better. I donít know, we were missing just a little bit but still a good day for us."

    "When they dropped the green flag, we really struggled. So maybe some of it was the track conditions, they had just run that ARCA race and there was a little bit different rubber on it, but, just being back there in traffic, I really struggled. I went backwards instead of forwards which I really thought we would come forward. I knew we had a good car and knew we needed to make maybe a few adjustments, but most importantly, just get that track position. My team has been just awesome, not just today, but lately. From the pit stops to the good calls and adjustments that Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) is making got us in the position to work our way up through there."

    "You really make that decision on the spot. I'll be honest with you, coming into this race, even though we qualified bad. Or I should say I hit the wall and made us qualify bad, I felt confident that when they dropped the green, we were going to drive by some cars and that was not the case. You just never know. At that time, I really wanted to make those moves because I thought the rain was coming in a hurry and get up there as fast as we could, but we just we didn't have the car. We just weren't in position. I couldn't be aggressive. But as the race went on and the rubber started laying down, I felt our car getting better and we started gaining speed and we started making our way through the traffic. That is when I knew just be patient and we've got a car."

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