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Long Way Home
MIAMI 400 - Homestead-Miami Speedway. Finish: 10th

Recap
Jeff Gordon thoroughly dominated the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway by leading 161 of the 267 laps. However, a late pit stop from 2nd place cost valuable track position that Gordon was unable to recover. He finished 10th in the race and concluded the season 6th in the NASCAR points standings. Kevin Harvick scored the victory and won the 2014 Sprint Cup Championship.

Gordon started on the pole and led the opening 11 laps before a caution slowed the field. Pit stops followed with Gordon exiting in 2nd place after Kurt Busch opted for two tires. On the restart, Kevin Harvick went by Gordon on the outside line. Gordon settled into 2nd place for a few laps before taking the lead from Harvick on lap 25. Gordon pulled out to a 3-second lead before a caution on lap 57 for Brett Moffitt's engine. On the restart, Gordon slipped to 3rd behind Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano. He regrouped to take 2nd from Logano on lap 65 and re-assumed the top spot on lap 66. Once again he pulled out to a healthy lead before a caution on lap 85. Gordon held the lead through the round of pit stops. Gordon continued to lead under green until the next caution on lap 115 for Alex Bowman's cut tire. Gordon held the lead through pit stops. He briefly lost the lead to Harvick on the restart before regaining the race lead on lap 123. Harvick passed Gordon one lap later to take the top spot.

A caution for AJ Allmendinger's wall contact on lap 154 brought pit stops. Gordon used the first pit stall to his advantage and beat Harvick to the final timing line to regain the lead. With 100 to go, Gordon dropped to 3rd behind Hamlin and Logano. He fell to 4th when Harvick passed on lap 171 before regrouping to take the 3rd position from Logano on lap 184. As the run progressed, he took 2nd from Harvick on lap 190. Gordon closed in on Hamlin for the race lead prior to a caution for Marcos Ambrose's wall contact on lap 193. Pit stops followed with Gordon exiting with the lead. A caution for debris with 61 laps to go slowed the field. Gordon held the lead through the pit stop sequence.

On the restart, Hamlin used the outside line to take the lead from Gordon. A debris caution slowed the drivers with 47 to go. The first pit stall worked to Gordon's advantage as he emerged with the lead once again. Allmendinger's wreck brought out the caution with 31 to go. Gordon again held the lead after the pit sequence. Gordon eased out to the lead on the restart before a debris caution with 20 to go. Gordon stayed on the track and restarted with the race lead with 17 to go. Hamlin took the lead on the restart prior to a caution with 13 to go for Blake Koch's crash. Gordon came to pit road for tires and restarted in 23rd place. He gained 10 spots in a 4-lap span and ran 13th when the caution waved with 6 to go. He finished the event in 10th place and passed Mark Martin for the second-highest total (454) of top-10 finishes in NASCAR history.

Turning point
Gordon was running 2nd when he came to pit road under caution with 12 laps to go. Most drivers stayed out, which cost valuable track position.


Missing The Cut
QUICKEN LOANS 500k - Phoenix International Speedway. Finish: 2nd

Recap
In the end, Jeff Gordon missed advancing to the championship race by a single point. Gordon finished 2nd to Kevin Harvick at Phoenix International Raceway. But it was Ryan Newman's 11th place finish that eliminated Gordon from title contention this season. Harvick, Newman, Denny Hamlin, and Joey Logano advanced to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the championship race on November 16.

Gordon started 7th and slipped back to 9th in the opening laps. He battled handling issues before a debris caution slowed the field on lap 30. Pit stops followed with Gordon exiting in 7th place after a two-tire change. Gordon took 6th from Kyle Busch on lap 49, and tracked down Brad Keselowski to take 5th on lap 63. His forward march continued as he took 4th from Matt Kenseth on lap 70. The next caution waved on lap 80 for Casey Mears' spin on the backstretch. Gordon came to pit road for two tires and restarted in 3rd place. He dropped to 6th on lap 94 after Kenseth and Keselowski went by. Kyle Busch passed on lap 95 prior to a debris caution. Gordon came to pit road for four tires and a wedge adjustment, and restarted in 20th place on lap 100. He entered the top-15 on lap 112 after moving past Kasey Kahne. He ran 14th when a debris caution slowed the field on lap 123. He restarted in 10th place after a two tire change. Gordon ran 8th on lap 135 after passing Paul Menard and Carl Edwards. At the halfway point, Gordon was in 7th place and closing on Kenseth for the 6th spot.

He moved around Kenseth to take 6th on lap 162 and re-entered the top-5 with a move around Kyle Busch two laps later. He passed Keselowski for 4th on lap 172 as he tried to pad his cushion to the Chase cutoff. A caution for Austin Dillon's cut tire on lap 183 brought pit stops. Gordon lost 2 spots on pit road and restarted in 6th place. He passed Truex for 5th prior to a debris caution on lap 200. Gordon dropped to 8th on the restart before Josh Wise's crash brought a caution on lap 206. On the restart, Kyle Busch got loose and collected Clint Bowyer and Cole Whitt to bring out a caution. Gordon restarted in 7th place on lap 220. He re-entered the top-5 after passing Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch. With 78 to go, Jimmie Johnson slammed the wall to bring out a caution. Gordon took 2 tires and restarted on the inside of the front row along side race leader Kevin Harvick. Jamie McMurray's spin one lap after the restart brought out a caution. Gordon once again restarted inside of Harvick. He dropped more than 5 seconds behind Harvick, but held 2nd place until a debris caution with 25 laps to go.

Gordon stayed on the track and once again restarted inside of Harvick with 21 to go. Landon Cassill's spin with 16 to go slowed the field with Gordon holding 2nd place. On the restart with 12 to go, Gordon held the 2nd spot where he finished the race.

Turning point
A late two-tire change propelled Gordon up to 2nd place.

JG's comments
"It's disappointing. We have a lot to hold our heads up high about the way we raced this race and the whole Chase and the whole season. We raced hard and we raced together as a team. But I hope we taught somebody that you can race clean and still go out there and give it your best, and that you don't have to wreck people to make it in the Chase or win the championship. I'm afraid if it was that ugly these last couple of weeks, it's going to get really ugly next week. But I couldn't be more proud of this team. This makes last week hurt that much more. We did everything we could at Martinsville. We did everything we could here and 2nd just wasn't good enough. Kevin Harvick was in another zip code. There was nobody who was going to get him today. We did a great job finishing 2nd. I'm not happy about it, but at the same time I'm really proud of what we've done this year. We'll go try to win Homestead and end this season on a positive note."

ON THE OUTCOME OF THE RACE
"It's disappointing. Kevin Harvick was in another zip code. I'm not going to wreck a guy that's racing me clean all year long just to make it into the Chase. That's not what it's all about for me. You're not going to go win the championship next week by doing that. So, it's just unfortunate. We did everything so good this year. That one race, that one race is going to stick with me for a little while. I got over it this week, knowing that we could come here and compete like this. Now it makes it sting that much more. But, I couldn't be more proud of what this team did this year. What a great season and great race cars. That's what I'm most disappointed in. I don't think anybody deserves to be Homestead more than this #24 team because of the effort that they put in and the performances that we've had. But, you know what? Youíve got to score the points or win the races to get in there and we didn't do that. So now we'll go to Homestead and battle hard to try to win that race.

IS THAT WHAT MAKES IT SO TOUGH BECAUSE YOU RUN SO WELL BUT YOUíRE JUST ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN?
"Yeah, we did everything right, in my opinion. We did everything that we could control. We ran smart races. We were aggressive when we needed to be. We had great race cars. When we needed to qualify up front, we qualified up front. Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) called a great race today. We fell back; had some issues on a pit stop, and fought our way back up there and held on for second there at the end. We gave it everything. I'm proud of that. I'm so proud of this race team for all that they've done this year. It's so disappointing. I mean, to have two second place finishes in the Chase and know what we were staring at last week, makes last week even tougher to handle. But we certainly did everything we could. We didn't score enough points. We didn't win the race to get us to advance to next week, and now we just put our heads down and go racing this next week really hard to try to win that race and see what we can do next year."

WE KNOW YOU'LL COME BACK AND RACE JUST AS HARD IN 2015
"I certainly will because of this race team. They have inspired me this year. They've given me great cars and great confidence because they've given me such great cars; and pit stops and pit strategy and it's been a lot of fun this year. I think nobody is more deserving and has worked harder to be at Homestead battling for this championship than this 24 team. But some things are out of our control."

YOU HAVE COME ALL THIS WAY, AND WON RACES AND YOU'RE NOT THERE TO BATTLE AT HOMESTEAD. DO YOU HAVE AN ISSUE WITH THAT?
"That's just the system that we have. You've got to race a system the way that it's structured and I'm so proud that I can hold my head up and say that I drove my heart out. This team put their heart and soul into everything we did. There were some things that were out of our control that happened that are unfortunate that kept us out of it. But it wasn't for a lack of effort from our part or good race cars or a good race team. We've got all that. I knew Kevin Harvick was going to be tough today. He was in another zip code. But to come home second, I thought that would be enough. I really did. But it's pretty disappointing that it's not."

HOW TOUGH WAS THAT RACE TODAY? HOW INTENSE WAS THE RACING?
"It was tough. We had a couple restarts that were pretty edgy. The start of the race was the toughest. We were off a little bit on the car. The track was real slick. I was sliding around. I knew it was going to be a long day. Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) made some great adjustments and got us right back into it. So, we had one issue on pit road that made it that much tougher, but we fought back from all those things and had great pit stops and strategy there and a good race car but it just wasn't enough. It certainly wasn't from a lack of effort."

HOW WAS THAT LAST RESTART?
"It was good. The last few were good for me. I could race Kevin (Harvick) down in the corner but I don't know. He didn't have to use brakes. I don't know what they've got in that thing. He was just in another zone today. It's unbelievable. I've never seen a car that fast; that much faster than the competition. You've got to give them a lot of credit. They deserved it. They made their way into it. I think they are going to be a real factor next week."

ON THE PRESSURE OF THE RACE
"There was pressure. But honestly, nothing to me was worse from a pressure standpoint than Talladega. To know that track and what it offers and what can happen there and to be in a position where youíre not safe, but you've got to be conservative. That was the worst weekend. This win, I just feel confident in my race team. We can go out there. When you have a race where you can play a role in the outcome, you have more confidence in how you are performing and what your team is doing; whether it be strategy or pit stops or setting up the car. So, I don't know. I had confidence coming into today. And we finished second. Thatís pretty good."

YOU WORKED SO HARD ALL YEAR. EMOTIONALLY, HOW DO YOU FEEL RIGHT NOW?
"I'm disappointed. I thought if we came out of here second, even if it was to Kevin or (Brad) Keselowski, I thought we'd still make it in. That's pretty disappointing to do all of that. It just makes last week that much more disappointing and I'm going to be thinking about that one for a while."

IF RYAN NEWMAN DID WRECK KYLE LARSON ON THE FINAL TURN TO MAKE THE CHASE, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT?
"Well, he ran him wide. I don't know if Iíd say he wrecked him. He certainly ran him up the race track. That's the system that we have. Wait until next week when the championship is on the line. You're going to see a lot more than that. That's what NASCAR wants this to become to create intensity and interest and that's whatís going to happen. You have to expect it. But just like what happened on pit road last week, there are lines that need to be drawn or somebody's going to cross the line and they'll have to back everybody up."

ON THE NEW FORMAT
ďI like it. Itís exciting; the most interest Iíve seen in this sport in a long, long time; not necessarily for all good reasons, but it certainly makes it very challenging and difficult to get there. Only next week will tell. You want it to just come down to the best teams. Thatís not necessarily always the case.Ē

IS THIS THE MOST EMPTY FEELING YOUíVE HAD AFTER DRIVING A GREAT RACE?
"Yeah. It is; besides last week (laughs)."

BUT YOU'VE GOT TO SUM-UP YOUR SEASON BY SAYING YOU WERE ALIVE AND IN IT RIGHT TO THE END
"I told my wife when the day started that no matter what happens today, we have a lot to smile about and be happy about. We have two wonderful children. We've worked our guts out this year as a race team and we've won races and showed everybody what kind of race team we are. And for that Iím extremely proud. I knew if this moment happened and we had that kind of performance today, it would be very tough to take. But thatís the reality of it."


Boiling Over
AAA TEXAS 500 - Texas Motor Speedway. Finish: 29th

Recap
Jeff Gordon seemed to be on his way to a victory at Texas Motor Speedway as the laps wound down. A late caution set up a green/white/checkered restart and created chaos in the NASCAR points standings. Gordon battled Jimmie Johnson for the race lead heading into turn 1. Following contact from Brad Keselowski who attempted to split the Hendrick Motorsports pair, Gordon cut a left rear tire and spun in turn 3. He finished a lap down in 29th place. Gordon has just a 1-point gap to the Chase cutoff with next weekend's race in Phoenix the final event prior to the Championship Race on November 16.

Gordon started on the outside of the front row and remained in 2nd place for the first 30 laps. However, as the run progressed, Gordon battled handling issues and slipped to 4th. A debris caution slowed the field on lap 41. Gordon came to pit road for tires and exited in 10th place after problems on the right front during the stop. He steadily gained spots and ran 7th on lap 70. Gordon re-entered the top-5 with a move around Ryan Newman on lap 83, and took 4th from Matt Kenseth five laps later. Green flag pit stops came on lap 94 with Gordon cycling through in 5th place. He took 4th from Joey Logano just prior to the 100-lap mark, and moved around Kenseth to take 3rd on lap 105. Gordon passed Kevin Harvick for the runner-up spot on lap 136. He took the race lead during a green flag pit stop sequence on lap 139. He cycled through in 3rd place, but re-assumed 2nd after passing Harvick on lap 153. Gordon closed in on race leader Jimmie Johnson prior to a debris caution on lap 175. Gordon held the 2nd spot through pit stops. The next caution waved on lap 205 for Kyle Busch's tire, with Gordon in 2nd behind Johnson. Gordon exited pit road in 3rd place behind Johnson and Kenseth.

On the restart, Gordon quickly moved around Kenseth to run 2nd behind Johnson. He took the race lead from Johnson on lap 217 prior to a debris caution on lap 223. Gordon restarted in 2nd place after Denny Hamlin opted for 2 tires. He immediately jumped back into the lead heading into turn 1 on the restart. He pulled out to more than a 1-second lead on Johnson before a debris caution on lap 241. Johnson was able to beat Gordon off pit road to take the lead. On the outside line, Gordon fell to 4th after the restart. He regrouped to take 3rd from Kenseth on lap 252 before another debris caution. Gordon restarted 2nd after Brad Keselowski stayed on the track. He tracked down Keselowski and took the race lead with 59 to go. A debris caution brought pit stops with 48 laps to go. Gordon exited pit road in 3rd place behind Johnson and Harvick. A caution for debris with 38 to go brought Gordon to pit road for tires. He restarted in 11th place after several drivers stayed out.

On the restart with 31 to go, Gordon moved to 10th before the next caution for Joey Logano's flat tire. With 25 to go, Gordon moved up to 6th place and set his sights on the top-5. He took 5th from Kenseth with 23 to go prior to Kasey Kahne's spin to bring out the caution. Gordon stayed on the track and restarted in 3rd with 17 laps to go. He jumped to 2nd behind Johnson with 16 to go. Kahne wrecked with 14 to go on the backstretch. Gordon lined up on the outside of Johnson for the restart with 9 laps to go. He passed Johnson on the outside coming off turn 2 for the race lead. With 4 laps to go, Clint Bowyer hit the wall to bring out the caution. Gordon chose the outside line for the green/white/checkered restart. Keselowski made contact with Gordon after the restart, which resulted in a cut tire for the #24 car. Gordon spun in turn 3 to bring out the caution. He finished a lap down in 29th place.

Following the race, Gordon exited his car next to Keselowski. He tried to grab Keselowski by his driving uniform, which created a brawl among the pit crews for the #2 and #24 teams.

Turning point
Brad Keselowski makes it 3-wide in turn 1 on a green/white/checkered restart. Contact ensued and emotions boiled over.

JG's comments
"We were sitting there on a little bit older tires. I spun the tires a little, but I got a pretty decent restart. We went down into turn 1 and I just wanted to get to the outside of [Jimmie Johnson]. Out of nowhere I just got slammed by [Brad Keselowski]. It cut my left rear tire. He's just a dipshit. The way he races, I don't know how he's ever won a championship. I'm just sick and tired. That's why everyone is fighting him and running him down. Your emotions are high. That was a huge race for us. We had the car, we had the position. I'm so proud of my team. And I'm proud of Jimmie Johnson for winning that race and not letting that... you know what... win that race.

ON KESELOWSKI:
"There wasn't a conversation. You can't have a conversation with him. He beats his own drum and gets himself in this position and he's got to pay the consequences. I'm going to race him the same way he races me. That kind of stuff is just uncalled for and I'm not going to stand for it. To them, I'm sure it's just a racing incident. But to me, it's a bunch of crap. The kid is just doing stuff way over his head. To me, that's just uncalled for. You're racing for a win and a championship. You don't go slam somebody and cut their left rear tire. If that's what it takes, no problem. I can do the same thing back to him."

WHAT WAS IT THAT UPSET YOU SO MUCH?
"We drove down into Turn 1 and he just decided to body slam us and cut our left-rear tire. It ruined our night. It ruined our chances, ruined our night, might of even ruined our Chase hopes. It's just uncalled for. I had to show my displeasure. It got ugly down there, obviously, and you know that is alright. A lot of things are going to happen in the next couple of weeks."

IS THIS EMOTION THAT WE ARE SEEING FROM A LOT OF YOU GUYS A RESULT OF THIS NEW CHASE FORMAT?
"It's emotion that is a part of this Chase and this format as well as towards people that make dumb decisions. He has been making a lot of them lately. That is why people have been running after him and chasing him down. It's why his team has got to defend him over there because of what he does on the race track."

WHAT HAPPENED AT END OF RACE?
"He cut my left rear tire. I went over there to talk to him."

YOU WEREN'T GOING TO BE DENIED TALKING TO HIM, DID YOU WANT TO SEND A MESSAGE TO HIM?
"I wanted to do a lot more than that."

TALK ABOUT CHALLENGES HEADING TO PHOENIX:
"We are just going to take this fire that's inside of us and this momentum. We are going to take it to Phoenix and win that race."


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