AAA 400 - Dover International Speedway. Finish: 4th
Gordon started 16th and moved up to 12th place by lap 25. He advanced to 11th prior to the first caution on lap 37 for debris. Pit stops followed with Gordon restarting in 12th place on lap 41. He moved into the top-10 by lap 60 and ran 9th on lap 70. At the 100-lap mark, Gordon ran in 7th place as the #24 car seemed at its best on longer runs. He led two laps prior to green flag pit stops on lap 125 -- the fifth consecutive race Gordon has led. Following stops he ran in 8th place, but was unable to make headway over the next 40 laps. A debris caution on lap 164 brought the lead lap cars to pit road. Gordon restarted in 7th place on lap 170. After slipping to 9th on the restart, Gordon rallied back to run 7th at the halfway point.
Gordon took 6th from Ryan Newman on lap 224 as the car improved on the long run. A caution on lap 227 for Brad Keselowski's engine brought the leaders to pit road. Gordon held 6th place through the cycle of pit stops. He used the outside line to his advantage and took 5th shortly after the restart. Gordon took 4th from Kyle Busch on lap 264 and moved to 3rd with a pass on Matt Kenseth on lap 266. He gained ground on his Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr prior to a green flag pit stop cycle on lap 313. A debris caution with 31 laps to go altered late race strategy and brought the leaders to pit road for the final time. Crew chief Alan Gustafson called for two-tire change and Gordon restarted in 2nd place.
Johnson, as the race leader, opted for the outside line for the restart with 27 laps to go. Gordon dropped to 4th on the restart behind Johnson, Earnhardt Jr, and Joey Logano. He wound up the event in 4th place -- his 5th top-10 in the last 6 races. Gordon moved up to a tie for 4th in the series standings, 39 points from the top spot.
ON WHETHER HE COULD HAVE MADE IT ON FUEL
ON THE POINTS
White Line Fever
SYLVANIA 300 - New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Finish: 15th
Gordon started 3rd and took the runner-up spot from Ryan Newman at the end of lap 3. He held the spot until the competition caution on lap 30. After taking two tires, Gordon made contact on pit road with David Ragan who was entering his stall. The contact wrinkled the sheet metal in front of Gordon's right front tire. He restarted in 6th place on lap 34 and quickly moved to 5th by lap 35. Two laps later the caution waved for a wreck involving Jamie McMurray and Kevin Swindell. On the restart, Gordon fell to 7th on the inside line. Bobby Labonte's cut tire and subsequent crash brought out the caution on lap 52. Gordon moved to 6th after the next restart and took 5th from Brad Keselowski on lap 62. Twenty laps later he advanced to 4th with a move around Newman. Gordon assumed the lead on lap 110 during a green flag pit stop sequence. He came to pit road one lap later for a four-tire change.
Followng the stops, Gordon cycled through in 5th place behind Keselowski. At the halfway point, Gordon advanced to 4th by passing Kasey Kahne. A caution on lap 164 brought the lead lap cars to pit road. Gordon's crew opted for two tires and restarted with the race lead. A debris caution with 100 to go slowed the field. Gordon slid through his pit box to the white line and needed to back up prior to a four-tire pit stop. He restarted back in 22nd place with 95 to go. He re-entered the top-20 with 85 laps to go and took 19th from Juan Pablo Montoya with 83 to go. Gordon had moved to 16th when the caution waved for David Gilliland's engine with 55 laps to go. The #24 crew changed right side tires and Gordon restarted in 14th place. He moved to 13th just before Kahne crashed on the frontstretch -- which effectively destroyed his teammate's Chase hopes. On the restart, Gordon was caught in the middle line and dropped to 20th place with 40 laps to go. He steadily gained spots back and finished the race in 15th place.
JEFF GORDON POST-RACE COMMENTS
WHAT'S YOUR MINDSET HEADED TO DOVER?
HOW DO YOU CLEAR YOUR HEAD AFTER A DAY LIKE TODAY?
YOU DIDN'T KNOW YOU WERE OVER THE LINE?
FROM WHERE YOU WERE ON THE TRACK THEN, IN 22ND, WHERE DID YOU THINK YOU COULD POSSIBLY FINISH?
WHEN A MOMENT LIKE THAT HAPPENS AND YOU HAVE THAT GOOD OF A CAR, WHAT GOES THROUGH YOUR HEAD? WAS IT OH, DAMN, I MIGHT HAVE JUST GIVEN ONE AWAY?
HOW DO SIZE UP THE FIELD NOW?
DID YOU EXPECT MATT KENSETH TO BE THIS STRONG?
HOW MUCH BETTER DO YOU FEEL AFTER THIS RACE COMPARED TO LAST WEEK AND HEADED TOWARD DOVER?
GEICO 400 - Chicagoland Speedway. Finish: 6th
After rain showers delayed the start by more than an hour, Gordon started 6th and dropped to 8th within a lap of the green flag. He held the spot until taking 7th from Kasey Kahne just before the competition caution on lap 30. He restarted in 11th place after opting for 4 tires. Gordon re-entered the top-10 on lap 39 with a pass on Greg Biffle, and took 9th from Martin Truex on lap 49. As the run progressed he took 8th from Ricky Stenhouse and moved around Aric Almirola to run 7th on lap 57. Gordon moved around Dale Earnhardt Jr for 6th on lap 60. He led 2 laps during a green flag pit stop sequence and cycled through in 6th place. Just 25 laps before the halfway point, rain arrived and brought out the caution flag. After more than 5 hours of rain and track drying, NASCAR restarted the event at 9pm/central time.
Pit stops came prior to the green flag and Gordon restarted in 11th place. He advanced to 10th before a debris caution on lap 122. Gordon used the outside line on the restart to move up to 7th by lap 130. He took 6th from Kasey Kahne on lap 134 and entered the top-5 by moving around Brian Vickers on lap 139. Two laps later he took 4th from Aric Almirola. The next caution waved on lap 147 for Justin Allgaier's spin. Gordon changed two tires and emerged from pit road with the lead. He led the race until lap 167 when a debris caution brought the leaders to pit road. Kyle Busch beat Gordon off pit road after both opted for fuel-only stops. Gordon restarted 3rd after Biffle stayed out to assume the lead.
On the restart, Gordon slowed dramatically and came to pit road with a flat left rear tire. Two laps later the caution waved for Joey Logano's engine. Gordon came to pit road for 4 tires and restarted in 33rd place, one lap down. He quickly got himself into the free pass position. However, race leader Kyle Busch began lapping the tail end of the lead lap, which made it more difficult for Gordon to get back on the lead lap. With 50 laps to go, the lead lap cars began coming to pit road for green flag stops. Gordon was able to stretch his fuel longer because of the pit stop earlier for the flat tire. With 43 laps to go, Gordon re-assumed the race lead because of the pit sequence. Gordon received a tremendous break when Dale Earnhardt Jr's engine blew to bring out the caution flag.
Gordon came to pit road for tires and restarted in 18th place. He moved to 15th with 34 laps to go, and took 12th from Denny Hamlin one lap later. He re-entered the top-10 with a pass on Clint Bowyer with 29 to go. Allgaier's second spin of the night brought out the caution with 28 to go. Gordon stayed on the track and restarted in 7th place. He took 6th place from Ricky Stenhouse with 18 to go and challenged Jimmie Johnson for 5th place before settling for 6th place at the finish.
Tougher Than The Rest
FEDERATED AUTO 400 - Richmond International Raceway. Finish: 8th
Two points. That's what separated Jeff Gordon from the NASCAR Chase after 26 races this season. Gordon finished 8th at Richmond International Raceway and missed the Chase cutoff for just the 2nd time in the 10-year history of the Chase. Gordon was in position to make the Chase in the closing stages. However, a spin by Clint Bowyer (ironically) changed the complexion of the event.
Gordon started on the pole and led the first 49 laps before Brad Keselowski took the lead away. Kurt Busch followed Keselowski past Gordon, which dropped him to 3rd place on lap 51. He fell to 5th on lap 61 when Jamie McMurray and Clint Bowyer went by. He faded to 8th place by lap 75 after wearing out the right rear tire. Gordon fell out of the top-10 on lap 86 when Kasey Kahne moved ahead. Gordon came to pit road on lap 94 for a green flag stop. He cycled through in 12th place and ran there at lap 100. Gordon moved to 11th by passing Kasey Kahne on lap 123. The first caution waved on lap 135 which brought the field to pit road for adjustments. Gordon gained 3 spots on pit road because of the first pit stall and restarted in 8th place.
Gordon held 8th until lap 177 when Greg Biffle and Aric Almirola went by to send him back to 10th. As the handling went away, Gordon fell to 15th on lap 186. A caution for David Stremme's spin on lap 208 brought out the caution. Gordon restarted in 16th place after adjustments on pit road. On lap 224, Gordon dropped off the pace and came to pit road after reporting a vibration -- which turned out to be a loose right front wheel. The crew changed four tires and Gordon returned to the track two laps down in 25th position. He tracked down and passed Brad Keselowski to put himself one lap down on lap 231. On fresher tires he was able to gain spots on the drivers one lap down and ran 23rd on lap 255. Seven laps later, Gordon passed Brian Vickers to move into 22nd place -- the free pass position if a caution waved. A debris caution on lap 264 allowed Gordon to get back on the lead lap to put himself in position to qualify for the Chase.
Gordon restarted 22nd on lap 274 and entered the top-20 soonafter. He took 19th place from Denny Hamlin on lap 292 and moved to 18th around Almirola 10 laps later. Gordon moved to 16th with 87 laps to go. With Joey Logano trapped 2 laps down, Gordon essentially needed a top-10 finish to qualify for the Chase at that stage of the event. He took 15th from Matt Kenseth with 75 laps to go, and took 14th from Martin Truex two laps later. Gordon came to pit road with 58 laps to go, just before Jimmie Johnson cut a tire to bring out the caution flag. He rolled through pit road and was the first car one lap down, which allowed him to get back on the lead lap. Gordon restarted in 12th place with 50 laps to go. He entered the top-10 with a move around Mark Martin, and took 9th from Ricky Stenhouse with 35 to go. He took 8th from Kenseth with 30 to go, which gave him a 2 point edge for the 10th and final Chase cutoff. Clint Bowyer's spin with 8 laps to go brought out the caution. Gordon had a difficult time gaining spots on the restart and finished the event in 8th place. However, Joey Logano advanced from 25th to 22nd after the final caution allowing him to edge Gordon for the final Chase spot.
"I don't know what it is about this track lately with me and this raceteam. We started off so great. We've done this before. And then all of a sudden we started fading. I was getting pretty frustrated at that time because it was that kind of condition where you're real tight landing and real loose off and I was like, 'How do we fix this? I don't know how to drive it any different. I don't know what to tell them.' But they did an awesome job. We stayed calm. We got a lap down, had a loose wheel, we had all these things thrown at us and yet we came back and finished 8th. I'm blown away that we finished 8th. I think that's a testament to this race team and the fight we have in us. It was fun to fight back like that. I wish we could have gotten a couple more."
ADVOCARE 500 - Atlanta Motor Speedway. Finish: 6th
Gordon started 5th and dove to the inside to take 3rd by the end of lap 2. He bided his time and took 2nd place from Carl Edwards on lap 20. However, Joey Logano took a spot from Gordon prior to the competition caution on lap 25. Gordon picked up a spot on pit road and restarted in 2nd on lap 28. He struggled on the restart and fell to 5th before the caution waved for contact involving Kasey Kahne. After falling to 7th on the ensuing restart, Gordon regrouped and moved to 3rd place by lap 50. He took 2nd from Juan Pablo Montoya on lap 56 prior to a debris caution. Pit stops followed with Gordon exiting with the race lead. He pulled away on the restart before a debris caution on lap 77. Edwards beat Gordon off pit road for the race lead. On the restart, Gordon struggled on the outside line and dropped to 5th. He quickly rallied back and took 3rd from Clint Bowyer by lap 83. Bowyer eventually tracked Gordon down and took 3rd on lap 103. Gordon came to pit road for a green flag stop on lap 122 and cycled through in 6th place. He took 5th from Brad Keselowski on lap 150 and moved to 4th when Joey Logano pitted one lap later. Gordon advanced to 3rd on lap 155 with a move around Jamie McMurray.
Gordon came to pit road for a green flag stop on lap 164 and cycled through in 4th place. The complexion of the race changed when race leader Clint Bowyer blew an engine on lap 193. Gordon gained a spot and restarted in 2nd place. He tracked down Edwards and edged ahead on the backstretch on lap 202. However, Edwards fought back and kept the lead of the event. Logano then passed Gordon for the runner-up spot on lap 203 and took the race lead one lap later. The next caution waved on lap 206 for Denny Hamlin's spin. Gordon came to pit road for tires and restarted in 7th place. He fell to 10th after the restart and soon rallied back to 9th with a move around Edwards and took 8th from Kyle Busch on lap 216. One lap later he took 7th from Dale Earnhardt Jr and advanced to 6th with a pass on Kurt Busch. He dropped to 7th when Earnhardt Jr went by on lap 227. Busch passed Gordon on lap 230 to send him to 8th place. Earnhardt Jr faded and Gordon took 7th on lap 236. After Keselowski dropped a cylinder, Gordon moved to 6th on lap 248. He came to pit road for a green flag stop on lap 253 and cycled through in 4th place. Kevin Harvick went by to drop Gordon to 5th on lap 258. Gordon fell to 6th when Earnhardt Jr went by on lap 264.
Loose handling hindered Gordon's efforts and he slipped to 9th on lap 272. A caution for Jimmie Johnson's spin slowed the field on lap 287. Pit stops followed with Gordon opting for a track bar adjustment. He exited pit road in 8th place. Gordon fell to 10th on the restart prior to Brian Vickers' spin to bring out the caution on lap 294. Gordon lost two spots on the restart and ran 12th when the caution waved for Jeff Burton's wall contact on lap 298. Gordon came to pit road for tires and restarted in 16th place. On the restart with 21 laps to go, he moved from 16th up to 12th. He re-entered the top-10 with 19 laps to go and took 8th from Harvick with 16 to go. Gordon passed Marcos Ambrose for 7th with 12 laps to go. With 3 laps to go, he took 6th from Juan Pablo Montoya.