October News

Ten Spot
Hollywood Casino 400 - Kansas Speedway. Finish: 10th

Matt Kenseth might be leaving Roush Racing at the end of the 2012 season, but he's creating quite a final act with his second victory in the Chase. Kenseth scored the win at Kansas Speedway in an event that featured 14 caution flags because of the repaved track surface. Jeff Gordon struggled with handling on the final run of the day and finished 10th. He trails points leader Brad Keselowski by 51 points with just 4 races to go.

Gordon started 19th and moved up to 15th by the end of lap 5. He was running 14th when the first caution waved on lap 31 for Casey Mears' wall contact. Gordon pitted for tires and restarted in 20th place. He moved to 17th but was unable to make significant headway before the next caution on lap 70 for AJ Allemdinger's cut tire. Gordon opted for 2 tires and restarted in 7th place. He moved to 6th before a caution for Jeff Burton's wall contact on lap 83. Gordon slipped to 9th after the restart, but eventually worked his way around Regan Smith to take 8th place on lap 110. Aric Almirola's cut tire on lap 123 slowed the field. Gordon came in for tires and restarted in 4th place. Jimmie Johnson crashed on lap 136 to bring out the caution. Johnson got loose exiting turn 4 and backed the Lowes Chevrolet into the wall. Repairs were made on pit road which allowed Johnson to stay on the lead lap.

On the restart, Gordon moved to the runner-up position behind race leader Matt Kenseth. One lap later, Bobby Labonte's wall contact slowed the field. Gordon dropped to 3rd on the restart before Danica Patrick's crash brought out the caution on lap 156. He came to pit road for 2 tires and restarted 7th because of some drivers opting not to pit. Gordon dropped to 9th before a caution on lap 165 for Tony Stewart's spin. A caution for Greg Biffle's crash with 92 to go slowed the field with Gordon in 10th place. With 85 to go, Ryan Newman hit Kyle Busch and created a wreck in turn 4. With 54 laps to go, Almirola's crash brought out the caution and the final round of pit stops ensued. Gordon restarted in 9th place after opting for 4 tires. He moved to 8th before a caution for Sam Hornish's cut tire with 33 laps to go. Gordon dropped to 9th with 14 to go when Brad Keselowski went by. Two laps later Johnson went by Gordon to drop him to 10th place where he finished the event. It was Gordon's 7th top-10 in the last 9 races.

Turning point
A four-tire change during the final round of pit stops didn't work out to Gordon's advantage. He battled handling issues in the late stages of the event and dropped to 10th place.

JG's comments
"It wasn't that bad. It was hard to pass you just couldn't reach the edge of the grip level really easy. My car stuck pretty good so I had pretty decent grip on the restarts and we were able to make up some spots. We did pretty good strategy so all in all it was a decent day for us. I thought we could pull off a top five at one point, but we just didn't."

Penalty Box
Bank of America 500 - Charlotte Motor Speedway. Finish: 18th

Clint Bowyer held off Denny Hamlin in a fuel mileage battle to win the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Points leader Brad Keselowski dominated the event, but needed a late stop for gas and finished 11th. Jeff Gordon struggled with handling for the balance of the night. He added to his own problems by receiving a costly pit road speeding penalty and finished 18th. Gordon is now tied for 8th in the points standings, 50 points behind Keselowski with 5 races to go.

Gordon started 11th and moved into the top-10 within 2 laps. By lap 10 he had advanced to 8th place. The first caution waved on lap 11 for Matt Kenseth's cut tire and spin in turn four. Another caution just after the restart on lap 16 collected Jeff Burton and David Ragan. Gordon dropped to 10th on the restart on lap 23. He was in 11th when the third caution waved on lap 36 for Paul Menard's wall contact. Gordon came to pit road for tires and restarted in 18th place. He moved back into the top-15 on lap 52 and ran 12th before a cycle of green flag pit stops. Gordon stayed on the track to lead a lap before coming to pit road on lap 86. He fell to 14th after pit stops. Gordon ran 13th at the 100-lap mark of the event.

Gordon ran 15th before a green flag pit stop at lap 214. Gordon received a very costly pit road speeding penalty and lost a lap. He put himself into position to get back on the lead lap -- as the first car one lap down. However, the race went into a long green flag run. With 30 laps to go, he ran in 16th place, one lap down. He made his final pit stop under green with 18 to go. Following the stop, Gordon ran in 20th place with 10 laps to go -- hopelessly trapped off the lead lap. He finished the event 18th. It was his fourth finish of 18th or worse in his last 5 races at Charlotte.

Turning point
A pit road speeding penalty took Gordon off the lead lap and effectively put a major wall between him and a possible fifth championship in 2012.

Right Place, Right Time
Good Sam 500 - Talladega Superspeedway. Finish: 2nd

Jeff Gordon's runner-up effort at Talladega Superspeedway came after a wild final lap that saw a multiple-car wreck in turn four that eliminated nearly 15 cars. It was Gordon's 6th top-5 finish in the last 7 races.

Gordon started 6th and moved into the top-5 by the end of the first lap. He stayed in the draft on the low line behind Kasey Kahne and moved up to 3rd place by lap 4. He dropped to 7th before the first caution on lap 18 for a crash involving Carl Edwards and Cole Whitt. Gordon came in for a fuel-only stop and restarted in 10th place. He moved to the outside line on lap 35 and ran behind Casey Mears. Gordon briefly pushed Mears into the lead on lap 50 before the outside line went by. Gordon again pushed Mears into the lead on lap 57 before a green flag pit stop sequence on lap 61.

Gordon moved to the outside line and drafted with Matt Kenseth who pushed the #24 car into the lead on lap 73. He led for 5 laps before Jamie McMurray drafted by. Kasey Kahne picked up Gordon on the outside line and briefly pushed him into the lead on lap 83 before the field went by and dropped the pair outside the top-10. The second caution waved on lap 99 when Kurt Busch ran out of gas and was wrecked on the backstretch. Gordon came in for 4 tires and restarted in 4th place. However, he fell back on the restart without a drafting partner on the outside line. Gordon settled into the lower half of the top-20 with 60 laps to go. He moved to the middle line and moved into the top-10 with 55 to go. A debris caution slowed the field 5 laps later with Gordon in 11th place. He came in to top off the fuel tank under caution with 46 to go. After nearly wrecking behind Kenseth, Gordon dropped to the lower part of the top-20 with 35 to go.

With 20 to go, Gordon ran in 18th place and was biding his time looking for a drafting partner. With 15 to go, Gordon pushed Jamie McMurray into the top-5 on the outside line. Five laps later, Gordon pushed McMurray into the lead. With a drafting push from Dale Earnhardt Jr, Gordon pulled even with McMurray, but was unable to take the lead. Gordon then wound up on the outside line and drifted back to 8th place with Earnhardt Jr in tow. With 8 to go, Gordon and Earnhardt Jr had slipped to 11th and 12th. The Hendrick teammates drafted back into the top-5 with 6 laps to go on the outside line. Jamie McMurray's spin with 5 laps to go brought out the caution flag. Gordon came to pit road for a splash of fuel to make it to the finish. He restarted in 11th place -- directly behind Kasey Kahne -- with 2 laps to go. On the final lap, Tony Stewart cut down on Michael Waltrip setting off a multiple-car melee in turn 4. Gordon drilled the rear of Kahne's car, sending him up the track. Kyle Busch hit Gordon and the #24 car went to the apron. Gordon kept the car straight and was just one of three cars to cross the finish line within 5 seconds of race winner Matt Kenseth. Gordon's 2nd place effort was his 6th top-5 finish in the last 7 races. He moved up to 6th in the series standings, 42 behind Brad Keselowski.

Turning point
Gordon stayed on the low line and was able to avoid the last lap melee after getting shoved to the apron.

JG's commments

"It wasn't looking really good there when we took the white flag, I'll be honest. I found the restart we had -- we had to come in and take fuel which was unfortunate. We had worked really hard to get ourselves up there, and you've got to believe there's going to be more than one green/white checkered, typically so. We had to come and do that. So we were in a decent position, still up there about 10th or 9th or something. I had the 5 in front of me, and the 18 behind me. It was like, man, we're looking good. We've just got to get an opening, and this group is going to run. But we took off, and I was pushing from the start/finish line and never stopped pushing them. We weren't going anywhere. I have no idea. I have to go back and watch the video because I just don't understand what was stalling our line, but it just was not going anywhere. Then the middle lane, the outside lane, they were just trucking by us. We started to make a little bit of ground down the back straightaway. We were like four-wide, went into three, and I saw smoke. When I saw smoke, everybody checked up in a hurry, and I hit the 5 and the 18 hit me, and it just turned me right down to the apron and I drove by pretty much everybody but the 17. So we got really lucky there. Like you said, it keeps the championship hopes alive."

Q. What is your reaction running out there at 190 miles an hour and seeing all of that?
"I mean, do we have a choice? I guess we do, but I don't feel like I really do. It's just part of racing here at Talladega. You have to accept it. You have to know that you're going to be going through that at certain times during the race, but at the end, for sure, especially with a green/white checkered. You put a lot of faith in your safety equipment and you kind of white-knuckle, hold on tight. I can't even describe to you. Kyle was describing it, I was describing it, but it still just doesn't put into words what that is like. I don't know how we made it to the white flag. Coming through that tri-oval, being hit from behind, hitting the guy in front of me, you're sandwiched in between basically cars. There are cars doing the same thing on that side of you, cars on that side of them doing the same thing. I really don't know how we made it to the white flag. It was just insane. But you're doing all you can to try to move your lane and hope that you make it back around. In today's case, we did."

Q. You guys knew it was coming, didn't you?
"You've got to believe that it's coming. It always seems -- yeah, pretty much. Because what you know is inside the car certainly, but you might see it a little bit as well. You start seeing more cars getting out of control and losing some positions because the aggressiveness just goes up. We understand we've got to make it to the end of the race. There are certain times in the race where you feel I'm going to be a little more aggressive here to try to get to the front. So you'll see a little bit of that. But at the end everybody's got that philosophy from the front all the way to the back. I almost lost it on the front straightaway trying to get to the lead. I saw the 16 got sideways. The 51 was being pushed by the 1, he got sideways as I was outside of him. That was earlier. But at the end you know it's going to get aggressive. It started to ramp up, so you're pretty sure there's going to be a caution, and then with the green/White checker, you know you're not making it back to the checkered. You wonder if you'll make it to the white. You know you're not going to make it back to the checkered without there being a wreck."

Q. Do you guys enjoy this kind of race?
"I remember when come Talladega was fun. I really do, and I haven't experienced that in a long, long time. I don't like coming here. I don't like the type of racing that I have to do. But if I'm a fan, I would love that. I think it is incredibly intense. It's wild. It's crazy. You're going to see it. Sometimes that balance that NASCAR has to deal with doesn't mean -- I mean, I don't have to be happy and be all excited about coming to Talladega. I don't expect that. But I do remember times when the draft and the thought that you had to put into it, the strategy working the draft and the cars in the lines was fun. You had some room in between the cars, and you had to use the air instead of the bumper. To me you could still come from the middle of the pack to first on the closing laps, but just how you did it was different, and it certainly wasn't what -- I mean, that literally is bumper cars at almost 200 miles per hour, and I don't know anybody that likes that. Maybe Kyle does. I don't know. He might want to talk about it. I think he really likes this kind of racing. This is for the young guys, not for the old guys like me.

Q. Did you see on the white flag lap Matt going from the middle lane all the way across, running into the 15 and then coming back across? Did you see that? Were you surprised by that?
"Yeah, I saw (Kahne's bumper). You can't see anything but the bumper in front of you. And you don't have a move. It's not like you can sit there and say, oh, okay, I'm going to switch, go to the outside. You've got no moves, man. You're just sitting there pushing that car in front of you as hard as you can. I couldn't tell you what was happening right in front of us. I certainly couldn't have told you that that was happening. But that explains maybe why our lane wasn't moving."

Q. I guess first part of my question is kind of lost, but as far as what you guys can see. I don't know if you know, but Tony took a hundred percent blame. He said he cut down across Michael trying to protect position and all. So if either of you guys saw any of that, I'd be interested. But when you've got a guy as skillful as Tony Stewart on places like that and he, leading the race, acknowledges causing this massive pileup. Is that even more of an indictment of the way the racing is going here like y'all were talking about? Does that just add to your stating the case for the craziness of it?
"First of all, yeah, if you just isolate it to the move, I did see it. If you just isolate it to that, I mean, somehow he got the lead, but then he had nobody. Somehow they went to the outside of him, and they were coming. There is no doubt. The 55 was coming hard, and the 13 I believe was pushing him. They were going to go right by him, and he just made a late move, and, you know, unfortunately, he turned himself and caused a big wreck. But when you look at the bigger picture is that really what caused it? Because this type of racing and the way the aerodynamics are and the power on these cars, that's what happens. When you lose that momentum, you lose a ton. You're going backwards in such a hurry and the other guys are coming forward with so much momentum, it's inevitable that those types of things are going to happen. You're trying to judge making that move, but it's almost impossible to judge it because they're coming so fast. That's aerodynamics, that's power, and that's just the nature of the type of racing that we have right now at Talladega. Tony is a guy that takes blame for things and you've got to respect him for that, but I think there is a little more to it."

Q. On the Talladega crowd and empty seats:
"From an entertainment standpoint, they should be lined up out to the highway out there. That I don't get at all. That makes no sense to me. So there's got to be something more to it. If I'm a race fan, I want to see two and three-wide racing all day long, passing back and forth. I want to see guys shoving one another. I want to see the big one at the end of the race because guys are being so aggressive, and knowing that is not something that as a fan you could ever imagine putting yourself into and sort of defying danger. Why they're not lined up out to the highway is beyond me because I think they should be."

Q. On lulls in the action:
"I didn't see many today. I'll be honest. Not from where I was sitting, because I raced all day long. Even though I fell back, I never said okay -- I did save fuel for about eight to ten laps because the team asked me to. But other than that I pushed every single lap, and I saw everybody else trying to do that too. Now guys have learned, all right, if you can just push for maybe a lap and a half or two, even though you blow some steam off, you can get up there and get to the front. I remember early on I did that with Kasey. I think I did it with Kasey Kahne and Casey Mears, and then all of a sudden here they come doing the same thing to us. So I moved up to the inside lane, and next thing I know we're running tenth again. I saw great racing throughout the day. I didn't really see that. But I have no idea. I'm only paying attention to what's going on within my own race and around me. I thought it was pretty exciting all day. If it is, then they just shorten the race because all it really is a 20-lap shootout anyway. They could shorten the race and there won't be as many lulls."

Q. Take a minute to talk about the performance of your team today? "Our team did awesome. We had a fast race car. Awesome race team, great pit stops, great calls from a team standpoint. It was a great day."

Q. You finished third and second the last three weeks. But I think you've only gained five points on the leader. Is that frustrating to you?
"After today, it's a little frustrating. Our team is doing a great job. We've been performing really, really well. We can sit there and really get mad about what happened in Chicago, but the reality of it is all we can do is go each and every week and keep trying to put ourselves in position to win and get top 5s. It's not over yet. It is certainly not over yet. So we'll see what happens. If we keep doing this, I really think we might have a shot at it."

Q. On these types of tracks when somebody gets a crazy run on you -- I think the 88 is who got the run on you today and turned you completely sideways at 200-however many miles an hour. After you save it, what is that moment like when you realize that you're not going to clear?
"Let's clarify this first. That happened because Jamie McMurray's car is wide as that racetrack out there. I've never seen anybody run so many lanes in my life. He does a great job staying up front. It's amazing how he stays up front. But I guess it's because he just moves so wide that you can't pass him. So the 88 had a run pushing me. I mean, we were just pushing. He didn't have a run on me, we were just pushing. And I'm sitting there going, Which way is he going to go? Which way is he going to go? So he started to move left. So I go up to go around him. He decides not to go down. So at that point I'm having to put wheel into it, and all the 88 can see is my rear bumper. Text 50555 (laughing). So I did go sideways. I mean, he was doing that all day long. I don't know. It seems to work for him, so I guess he's going to keep it up. But it about cost us today. Yeah, it went sideways, and I thought for sure I was around it caught. Thankfully for that shark fin, I think that must have done it and straightened me back out, and Junior got off of me, and we went back racing. I caught my breath there for a second. Then I was like, okay, let's go back racing again."

  • News Archives

  • Jeff Gordon Chevrolet || Jeff Gordon Wines || Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation
    Copyright 1998-2012 || Privacy Policy
    Follow 'Jeff Gordon Online' on Twitter