October News

Tight Night
BANK OF AMERICA 500 - Charlotte Motor Speedway. Finish: 7th

Jeff Gordon finished 7th at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He remains 4th in the NASCAR points standings, 36 points behind Matt Kenseth. As the polesitter, Gordon led the first 26 laps of the event. He's led more laps in the last 7 races (153 laps) than he did in the first 24 races (151 laps) this season.

Gordon started on the pole and led the first 25 laps before the caution waved for JJ Yeley's wall contact. After opting for four tires, Gordon restarted 8th on lap 30. He worked through drivers who took two tires and ran 5th on lap 38. However, he was unable to gain further headway prior to a green flag pit stop on lap 77. The next caution waved on lap 83 for Mark Martin's engine. On the restart, Gordon used the outside line to take 3rd from Jimmie Johnson. However, he battled a tight handling issue and dropped to 5th as Johnson and Kyle Busch passed by lap 125. Gordon came to pit road for a green flag stop on lap 127. At the halfway point, Gordon ran in 5th place, more than 10 seconds behind race leader Kasey Kahne.

A debris caution on lap 172 brought the lead lap cars to pit road. Gordon gained two spots exiting the pits and restarted in 3rd. Kyle Busch went by shortly after the restart to send Gordon to 4th. Matt Kenseth passed on lap 217, which dropped Gordon to 5th. Three laps later Ryan Newman tracked Gordon down for position. He came to pit road for a green flag stop on lap 228. Gordon took 6th from Newman shortly after the stops, but gave the spot back on lap 273. He came to pit road for a green flag stop with 52 laps to go.

Gordon once again took 6th from Newman after the round of pit stops. A debris caution with 28 laps to go took fuel strategy out of the equation. Gordon opted for two tires and restarted in 2nd place on the outside of Kasey Kahne. Two laps after the restart, Matt Kenseth went by on the high side to send Gordon to 3rd. Brad Keselowski passed the #24 car on the backstretch to send him to 4th. With 19 laps to go, Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson passed Gordon for position. Kevin Harvick passed Gordon with 17 to go, which moved him back to 7th place where he finished.

Turning point
Crew chief Alan Gustafson opted for two tires on the final pit stop, thus mirroring the strategy of Kasey Kahne. Gordon restarted 2nd alongside Kahne, but was unable to hold the spot due to tight handling.

JG's comments
"All weekend long other than qualifying we were just battling getting the car through the center of the corner having the rear security on fresh tires and then having the front turn once the pressures and heat got in the tires. So, it was a fantastic performance. That balance we could never really get it. Certainly it helps when you're out front. That first run it was pretty good, but I could feel it going that direction. My car was really good on 4 tires. At the end I loved the call by Alan to take 2. It got us up there. I went through turns 1 and 2 and I was like, 'oh boy, we might have something for them.' But then I went through turns 3 and 4 and it got tight. Boy, it just kept getting tighter and tighter. I thought we were pretty fortunate to finish 7th. We put in a great effort to hang in there."

"It was a solid night. I was really good out front there in the beginning. We really struggled all day on Friday and tonight we could just not get it to take off good and then be good on the long runs. It looked like some guys were maybe a little bit freer than us on the shorter runs, but we were still able to maintain some good laps times and then be good on the long runs. It was a solid effort. It was a great call there to try to make two (tires) work. Our car was just way too tight to be able to do it. We lost a few more positions than I was hoping. But it was still solid."

"We've been adjusting on it all weekend. I don't know. We had a very fast race car but just trying to get the balance is really temperamental. I don't know. That's why we debrief and keep working at it. We were very strong and overall it was a good weekend for us. But I was definitely anticipating or hoping to be a little bit better than that."

"It was certainly an opportunity. You want to take advantage of that number one pit stall but we didn't have enough cautions to do that. We needed more cautions. We needed more cautions because when we had the track position we seemed to be able to maintain it, but once we lost it there was no getting it back. And all those green flag stops just didn't really suit us. So, we still had a solid effort tonight. But yeah, when you look at the guys who finished ahead of us, they are all the guys we are racing."

"I'm pretty impressed with that, to be honest. We've got to be realistic and while we've been really strong ever since the Chase started, we also came into this thing barely making it in and one week we probably weren't in it and then the next week we're in it and then we came from 13th to where we are. So I'm very proud of that and I'm not going to let this get us down. But, I also feel like we've been knocking on the door to get a win and that's what we're trying to do."

"I'm looking forward to Martinsville. I don't know if anybody is looking forward to Talladega but it's part of it. And you've got to go in there with a positive attitude and fight and do your best and try to avoid whatever may occur there or what's going to occur there and hope that you come out with a race car, it doesn't even have to be in one piece, it just needs to get across the line with a decent finish."

House Money
HOLLYWOOD CASINO 400 - Kansas Speedway. Finish: 3rd

It wasn't a long-awaited win for Jeff Gordon in the Hollywood Casino 400, but a solid 3rd place finish moved him to 4th in the NASCAR standings, just 32 points from the lead. Gordon's 429th career top-10 moved him past Dale Earnhardt for the 4th highest total in NASCAR history.

Gordon started 14th and ran well ahead of a lap 1 crash involving Danica Patrick. He advanced to 12th by lap 35 and ran 11th when the caution waved on lap 42 for Michael McDowell slowing on the track. Gordon opted for two tires on the pit stop and restarted in 4th place. He used the outside line to take 3rd, but returned to 4th when Jimmie Johnson passed on lap 69. Gordon came to pit road for a stop on lap 85, just prior to a debris caution on lap 87. Although the caution trapped him a lap down, he stayed out for the wave around to get back on the lead lap. He restarted in 28th place on lap 92. Gordon steadily gained spots and ran 21st at the 100-lap mark. Gordon had advanced to 18th before the caution waved on lap 118 for Landon Cassill's engine. Pit stops followed with Gordon opting for two tires and restarting in 14th place. He ran 12th at the halfway mark just prior to a caution for a wreck involving Ryan Newman and Justin Allgaier.

Pit stops followed with Gordon opting for two tires. He restarted 11th on lap 144 and moved into the top-10 prior to the next caution for Travis Kvapil's spin on lap 146. Gordon moved around Carl Edwards and Dale Earnhardt Jr on lap 152 to take 7th place. However, he battled a tight handling condition and dropped to 11th by lap 165. A caution for David Gilliland's wreck with 97 to go brought Gordon to pit road for adjustments. He changed four tires and restarted in 19th place. Gordon gained 4 spots after the restart to run 15th, prior to a caution for Casey Mears' wall contact on lap 180. Kyle Busch's spin brought out another caution with Gordon moving up to 13th place. The next caution waved with 68 laps to go when Carl Edwards made contact with Busch, which sent him into the wall and destroyed the front of the M&M's Toyota. Gordon came to pit road for four tires and restarted in 28th place. He came to top off the fuel with 61 laps to go.

Gordon worked through race traffic and ran 18th with 50 laps to go. He moved up to 11th place prior to a debris caution with 40 to go. Gordon came to pit road for two tires and restarted in 3rd place because he didn't have to wait on fuel as the other drivers did. On the restart, Gordon moved around Jeff Burton to take the runner-up spot. He ran more than a second behind race leader Kevin Harvick before a caution for Brian Vickers' crash slowed the field with 25 laps to go. He restarted on the inside of Harvick with 19 to go. Kurt Busch moved to the outside to pass Gordon in turn 1. Gordon settled into 3rd place behind Busch where he finished the race.

Turning point
Topping off the fuel with 61 laps to go allowed Gordon to spend less time on pit road when he came in for the final with 40 laps to go.

JG's comments

"It was a great day for our team. Ever since the Chase started, they've been bringing me awesome race cars. We're having a lot of fun out there. Everything could have gone wrong for us today, and there at the end it actually went right. So, that's nice to have."

"It's not a NASCAR race if you don't have a discussion with another driver about an incident on the track. These restarts are so tough. Everybody's trying to get every position they can. I got in the outside lane one time and (Kurt) just came up. The next lap I got to his bumper and got him loose. That led to him wanting to run into me on the right side on my door. These cars are so sensitive aerodynamic-wise. You just can't have any little damage like that. It did seem to affect our car. I just wanted to have a good civil conversation with Kurt, and we did. We're really proud to finish 3rd today."

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