September News

Iron Man
SYLVANIA 300 - New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Finish: 7th

Jeff Gordon finished a solid 7th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and built a small cushion over the Chase cutoff with one race to go before the next round. Gordon started his NASCAR record-setting 789th consecutive race, which broke Ricky Rudd's Iron Man record.

Gordon started 10th and battled handling issues at the outset. He slipped to 12th by lap 15. The first caution came on lap 37 for Aric Almirola's cut tire and wall contact. After chassis adjustments, Gordon restarted in 14th place on lap 42. He moved up to 11th on lap 47, just before a caution for Landon Cassill's power steering leak. Gordon ran 12th when the caution waved on lap 60 for Tony Stewart's cut tire. Gordon came to pit road for a 2-tire change and restarted in 25th place. He gained spots after the restart on drivers who hadn't pitted and ran in 18th place on lap 80. Gordon advanced to 15th by the time the next caution waved on lap 120 for Alex Bowman's wall impact. Pit stops followed with Gordon restarting in 18th place. At the halfway point, Gordon ran in 14th place.

A caution for Kyle Busch's wall contact brought out the caution on lap 160. Gordon came to pit road in 13th place and restarted in 11th. However, he slipped back to 17th after the restart when he was caught in the middle line. He regrouped over the next 10 laps and ran in 13th place on lap 175. Gordon advanced to 11th before a debris caution on lap 190. Pit stops followed with Gordon losing 4 spots and restarting 15th. He gained a spot when Jimmie Johnson pitted with a flat tire. On lap 205. the day's hardest crash occurred when Danica Patrick, following contact from Ryan Newman, backed into the wall and collected David Ragan. The melee allowed Gordon to move into 12th place. After the restart, Gordon slipped to 13th before a caution for Brett Moffitt's spin. Gordon came to pit road and restarted in 14th place with 86 to go. He held 14th until a caution for Justin Allagaier's cut tire with 63 laps to go. Gordon came to pit road and restarted in 20th place. With 50 to go, Gordon moved up to 16th place. He followed Jimmie Johnson around slower cars and ran 13th with 45 to go. Gordon re-entered the top-10 with a move around Dale Earnhardt Jr with 38 to go. He took 9th from Kasey Kahne with 29 to go. As drivers ran out of fuel, Gordon picked up two more spots in the closing laps to finish in 7th place. It was his best finish at Loudon since 2012.

JG's comments
"It was tough to pass today, and this place is always tough to pass. We started further off than we expected, but I have to give everybody on this team a lot of credit. They worked hard and made some big adjustments and brought the car to life. We just need some long green flag runs. We had a couple of restarts that didn't go well, and some pit stops where the sequence wasn't great. But there at the end, that last one helped us. We had a long green flag run. We had a decent restart and were able to pick off cars. Of course, a couple of cars ran out of fuel as well. It was a good way to close out the day."

"You know Kevin Harvick's going to be on a tear, and maybe Kyle Busch. Those guys have had some unfortunate circumstances, but they're so fast and capable of winning next week at Dover. We've got to go there and be solid. We won there last year. I'd love to be able to go back and repeat that. We're going to fight hard. We have a little bit of a [points] cushion, but not enough of a cushion where we can run easy."

New Beginnings
MYAFIBSTORY 400 - Chicagoland Speedway. Finish: 14th

Jeff Gordon began the Chase for the Championship with a 14th place finish at Chicagoland Speedway. He led the mid-stages, but had a poor final restart which doomed his chances.

Chase Bound
FEDERATED AUTO 400 - Richmond International Raceway. Finish: 7th

It wasn't a work of art through the first 26 races, but Jeff Gordon qualified for the NASCAR Chase for the 11th time in the 12-year history of NASCAR's championship playoff. Gordon's 7th place effort at Richmond clinched his spot in the Chase.

Gordon started 23rd and was unable to make headway through thre opening laps. The first caution came on lap 38 for Martin Truex's wall contact. Following pit stops, Gordon made his way into the top-20 on lap 50. His forward advancement continued as he took 17th from Ryan Newman on lap 58. Gordon entered the top-15 on lap 70, and took 14th from David Ragan on lap 77. A debris caution brought pit stops just before lap 100. Gordon restarted in 13th place on lap 102. The third caution came on lap 112 for Michael Annett's crash. Gordon pitted for tires and restarted in 13th. He steadily gained spots and moved into the top-10 on lap 150 with a move around Joey Logano. He took 9th from Kurt Busch, and then passed Carl Edwards for 8th prior to the halfway point.

Gordon took 7th from Kyle Larson on lap 202, but slipped back to 8th when Aric Almirola passed on lap 209. A debris caution on lap 211 brought the lead lap cars to pit road. Gordon lost a spot in the pits and restarted 9th on lap 217. After briefly dropping to 10th, he regrouped to pass Carl Edwards and Kyle Larson for positions to run 8th on lap 230. A debris caution brought the leaders to pit road on lap 290. He held 8th through the round of pit stops, but moved to 6th place after Brad Keselowski and Jamie McMurray were penalized for speeding on pit road. Gordon entered the top-5 for the first time with 93 laps to go with a move around Jimmie Johnson. However, he fell out of the top-5 when Dale Earnhardt Jr took the spot with 89 to go. Gordon dropped to 7th when Almirola passed with 55 to go. With 26 to go, NASCAR threw a caution for debris. Pit stops followed with Gordon holding the 7th position. He crossed the finish line in 7th to clinch a spot in the NASCAR Chase.

JG's comments
"It was a really solid night, so I'm proud of all the guys on the team. The first run I was a little nervous, we were hovering around 21st. We made a slight adjustment and started going to the front. I don't know if we were a top-5 car, but we were definitely a top-10 car. Finished 7th, I'm just so excited we finally had a solid night on pit road, on the racetrack with the car, communication -- everything was just really solid. So, that gives us something to be excited about over the next 10 races. These guys have been working so hard. I know everybody works hard, but they haven't been getting the rewards of that hard work. So it's nice to be in the Chase and take that breath and reset and see what we can do over the next 10.

"We're behind, we know that. (Joe Gibbs Racing) is unbelievable. But there's a lot of ways to make it to Homestead. There's a lot that can happen. We're working as hard as anybody to try to see what we can do better, learn from our competitors, and try to catch up. We're definitely playing catch up. I think Dale Jr is probably the best in our stable right now. He proved that again tonight. But we work hard together to try to improve. If we continue to do that, we'll make gains."

"I'm excited about it. That's a lot of pressure in this final season to make the Chase, so I'm glad we finally got that done."

Late Summer Swoon
SOUTHERN 500 - Darlington Raceway. Finish: 16th

Jeff Gordon's final career start at Darlington Raceway seemed the like perfect turnaround to his summer malaise. However, a 16th place finish -- which was not indicative of his running position through the balance of the event -- was his fourth consecutive finish outside the top-15. Barring a driver outside the top-16 in Chase points winning at Richmond, Gordon will qualify for the NASCAR Chase for the 11th time in the 12-year history of the 10-race playoff.

Gordon started 5th and held the spot in the opening laps. The first caution came on lap 7 for a crash involving Brett Moffitt, Cole Whitt and Chase Elliott. On the restart, Gordon dropped to 7th before regrouping to take 6th from Matt Kenseth on lap 22. He re-entered the top-5 with a move around Joey Logano on lap 26. The next caution came on lap 44 for Ryan Newman's spin. The leaders came to pit road with Gordon exiting in 6th place. He fell to 8th on the restart as Kyle Larson and Carl Edwards went by. He took 7th from Larson on lap 58 prior to a debris caution. Most drivers came to pit road with Gordon opting for tires and restarted in 7th place. He slipped to 8th on lap 88 when Martin Truex passed. A caution for Michael Annett's spin on lap 109 brought the caution. Pit stops ensued with Gordon exiting in 8th. He took 7th from Kyle Larson prior to a caution for Mike Bliss' wall contact on lap 120. Gordon came to pit road for tires and restarted in 14th place after several drivers stayed out. He dropped to 17th prior to a caution on lap 134 for Jimmie Johnson's spin. On the restart, Gordon used fresher tires to his advantage and moved to 12th on lap 140. He re-entered the top-10 on lap 145, and took 9th from Greg Biffle one lap later.

Gordon's forward advancement continued as he took 8th from Larson on lap 148. However, his progress stalled as Denny Hamlin took a spot from Gordon on lap 160. The next caution came on lap 163 for Trevor Bayne's cut tire. Pit stops followed with Gordon restarting in 8th place. He used the outside line to his advantage and moved to 6th on lap 170. He passed Denny Hamlin to take over 5th on lap 176. A debris caution slowed the field on lap 189, which brought pit stops. Gordon restarted in 7th on lap 194. He struggled on the inside and dropped to 11th on lap 196 before taking 10th from David Ragan. The next caution came on lap 198 for Ricky Stenhouse's crash. Gordon moved to 9th on the restart before a caution for Greg Biffle's spin on lap 208. Gordon ran 8th when the next caution waved on lap 229 for Chase Elliott's solo crash. Pit stops ensued and Gordon restarted in 9th place. He ran 8th when Trevor Bayne spun to bring out a caution on lap 246. Gordon stayed on the track and restarted in 5th place.

Gordon moved to 4th after the restart, but was no match for Kevin Harvick on fresher tires. He dropped to 6th after Kurt Busch took a spot. The next caution came on lap 265 for David Ragan's spin into the frontstretch wall. Gordon came to pit road for tires and restarted 9th. He advanced to 8th prior to the next caution for Ragan's second crash. Gordon stayed out and restarted in 5th. He held the spot until Kyle Larson passed on lap 300. A debris caution slowed the field on lap 301. Gordon took tires and restarted in 11th place. He slipped to 14th after the restart. The next caution came on lap 307 when Martin Truex hit Kurt Busch in turn 4. Gordon worked through race traffic and ran in 11th place with 35 to go. He slipped to 12th when Kurt Busch went by with 25 to go. Jeb Burton's spin with 12 laps to go brought out a caution.

The leaders came to pit road with Gordon losing 4 spots and restarting in 16th place. He crossed the line in 16th for his 4th consecutive finish outside the top-15 -- the first time that's occurred since April-May 2012.

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