Rewind: Starting deep in the field, Jeff Gordon powered up to 15th in the first 150 miles. Gordon noted improvements in the car after each pit stop. However, he was unable to make headway beyond 12th place and dropped to 17th by the halfway point. With 50 to go, Gordon fell to 20th and was struggling to stay on the lead lap. Crew chief Alan Gustafson had led Mark Martin to three straight top-6 finishes at the track, and Gordon was strong in both races in 2010. The duo seemed to hit on a setup that worked during practice on Saturday while posting the 5th fastest speed, but faltered during the main event on Sunday. Gordon struggled with track grip nearly all day and finished 18th. At the front of the field, Kevin Harvick passed Jimmie Johnson coming off turn four on the final lap to take the victory.
Road ahead: The ugly stats are that Gordon has just one top-10 finish in his last 8 races, and just two top-5 finishes in the last 22 events. However, Martinsville comes at the right time for Gordon. After a victory at Phoenix, Gordon has struggled over the last 3 races. Gordon posted 15 consecutive top-10 finishes at Martinsville before Kurt Busch’s front bumper snapped that streak last fall.
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