July 4 – – After dodging several close calls during the 400-mile event at Daytona International Speedway, Jeff Gordon found himself at the front of the field with 3 laps to go. However, a Richard Childress Racing freight train led by Kevin Harvick passed Gordon in the closing stages. Gordon rallied to finish 3rd and post his fourth consecutive top-5 finish
Gordon started 5th and worked his way up to 3rd on lap 9. A bump draft by Greg Biffle pushed Gordon alongside Kevin Harvick for the race lead on lap 11. Within three laps he fell to 13th after getting shuffled out of the draft. Gordon ran 14th when the competition caution slowed the field on lap 15. Gordon opted for four tires and restarted in 17th place. He was unable to make headway and dropped to 19th in the draft on lap 30. Gordon worked his way back into the top-10 on lap 46 as the handling seemed best on longer runs. He came to pit road for a green flag pit stop on lap 58. Gordon was on pit road when the caution waved for debris from J.J. Yeley’s cut tire. Based on his spot on the track, Gordon was 2nd at the time of the caution. On the restart, Gordon got a push from Brad Keselowski on the outside line to take the lead. Two laps later A.J. Allmendinger spun off turn four and made contact with the inside wall.
On the restart, Keselowski jumped in front of Gordon to take the race lead. Two laps later, Gordon received a drafting push from Denny Hamlin to re-take the lead. Shortly thereafter, Juan Pablo Montoya pulled to the inside to take the lead. Gordon was shuffled back to 4th in the high line behind Hamlin. Gordon slipped to 14th on lap 80 after taking the inside line. By lap 86, he dropped to 19th battling a loose handling condition. At lap 100, Gordon moved back up to 13th but was distantly behind the lead drafting pack. He came in for a green flag pit stop at lap 101 and changed four tires. On lap 103, the caution for Kyle Busch’s wall contact trapped Gordon a lap down. However, Gordon stayed on the track during the round of pit stops and received the wave around to get back on the lead lap. Gordon restarted in 5th with 50 laps to go. With 47 to go, Gordon moved to the high line and took the lead with drafting help from Jeff Burton. Two laps later Burton took the lead from Gordon who fell to 5th.
With 43 to go, David Ragan, Jamie McMurray, and Martin Truex made heavy contact in turn four to bring out the caution. Gordon came to pit road for tires and restarted in 8th place. He was running 7th when the caution waved with 25 laps to go for David Stremme’s wreck. Gordon came to the pits for tires and restarted in 5th place. With 11 laps to go, Gordon masterfully made his way through an 18-car melee in turn 3 which began when Kurt Busch and Jeff Burton made contact. A 20-minte red flag delay for track clean-up followed. Gordon came to pit road for four tires and restarted in 6th place. Gordon moved to 3rd behind Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick in a drafting line. With 4 to go, Gordon passed Harvick to take 2nd place behind Bowyer. He then dove low on the track to the take the lead with 3 to go. However, with 2 to go, Harvick gave Bowyer a drafting push down the backstretch to pass Gordon. He slipped back to 4th before a wreck involving Sam Hornish slowed the field just before the leaders took the white flag. On the green/white/checker restart, Gordon lined up behind Bowyer. Gordon gave Bowyer a push and then looked to the outside. Bowyer made contact with Gordon on the backstretch which broke his momentum. Gordon then lined up behind Kahne and tried to pass his future Hendrick Motorsports teammate ahead of Harvick. At the finish, Harvick held off Kahne and Gordon to take the victory.
With the 3rd place finish, Gordon moved up to 2nd in the points standings — though he trails by 50 Chase points to Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson. It was Gordon’s best finish at Daytona since winning in February 2005.
In Car Audio
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Post Race Comments from Pit Road
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Post Race Press Conference
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