April 11 – – For the second consecutive race, Jeff Gordon had victory within his sights while lining up with the lead on a final green/white/checkered flag restart. Unfortunately for Gordon, the ending at Phoenix International Raceway mirrored the disappointment of Martinsville Speedway. However, this time around, there was no contact from behind. Rather, it was the driver’s error that opened the door for Ryan Newman to take the lead (and the victory) away with 2 laps to go. Nevertheless, Gordon posted a runner-up finish and moved to 5th in the series points standings.
Gordon started 10th and moved around Carl Edwards on the opening lap to take a spot. On lap 2, he passed Martin Truex and Marcos Ambrose to take 7th place. Ten laps later he took over 6th from Dale Earnhardt Jr. The first caution waved on lap 15 after Kurt Busch got loose entering turn one and took out Kasey Kahne on the outside. Pit stops ensued with Gordon losing a spot and exiting in 7th place. A lap after the restart, Jamie McMurray spun in turn three off the front bumper of Clint Bowyer. Gordon restarted in 8th on lap 30 on the outside of Matt Kenseth. He moved to 6th on lap 31 before AJ Allmendinger took a position. On lap 39, Jimmie Johnson went by sending Gordon back to 8th before he regrouped and took 7th from Ryan Newman. The third caution came on lap 56 after Brian Vickers wrecked in turn three. Pit stops followed with Gordon exiting in 6th place.
When racing resumed, Gordon bided his time in 7th place behind Sam Hornish and AJ Allmendinger. On lap 82, Gordon moved to the outside of Allmendinger and raced side by side with Dr. Lynne’s husband for a lap before taking 6th place. Kenseth passed Gordon on lap 88 to take over 6th and send Gordon back to the 7th position. He moved back into 6th on lap 110 after getting around Hornish. On lap 133, Gordon came to pit road for a green flag pit stop just before Kurt Busch cut a tire. The caution waved three laps later as the pit sequence fully cycled through. Gordon fell to 8th due to the tight conditions on pit road and coming in slightly sideways to his stall. He gained two spots on the restart and closed in on Kenseth for 5th on lap 155. However, Gordon’s car tightened up and Kyle Busch took a spot on lap 161. He moved into the top-5 on lap 188 after getting around Joey Logano. A caution for Dave Blaney’s blown engine brought the lead lap cars to pit road. Gordon lost six spots and restarted in 11th. He dropped to 12th before rallying back into the top-10 with 165 laps to go.
With 107 to go, Gordon took 8th from Logano, and then passed Kenseth for 7th with 94 to go. As the green flag run continued, he tracked down and passed Kevin Harvick for 6th. A caution flag brought the leaders to pit road with 59 laps to go. Gordon gained two positions and departed in 4th place. On the restart, Gordon used the outside line to move up to 3rd but ran distantly behind Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson for the race lead. As the laps wound down, he made some headway on catching Johnson for 2nd. With four laps to go, Scott Riggs hit the wall to bring out the caution and set up a green/white/checkered finish. The leaders came to pit road with Gordon opting for a two-tire change and departed pit road with the race lead. On the restart, Newman powered on the inside past Gordon for the race lead after the leader spun the tires.
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