April 4 – Jeff Gordon’s car looked solid at the outset and he moved from 21st to 13th in the opening 50 laps. However, he failed to make headway over the next 50 laps and ran 12th on lap 100. He moved into the top-10 on lap 145, and lined up 7th for a restart on lap 179. He made his way around Kyle Busch and entered the top-5 on lap 200. Gordon took the runner-up spot from Juan Pablo Montoya just before a major wreck on lap 221 involving Martin Truex and Kasey Kahne. The race was red flagged while track clean-up ensued. When the green flag waved, Gordon took the lead from Clint Bowyer on lap 253. However, Bowyer re-assumed the top spot from Gordon just three laps later. Gordon fell to 5th place before he was able to get back to the inside line. He dropped further back to 8th while battling a loose handling condition. Gordon steadily made his way back to the front and took over 2nd place by lap 310. With 135 laps to go, Gordon eased ahead of Kyle Busch for the race lead. However, Busch passed Gordon for the lead with 108 laps to go. Gordon was caught on pit road during a late race caution and restarted 9th with 29 laps to go. He made up four spots and posted his 12th top-5 finish in the last 13 races at Martinsville. Gordon gained four spots in the standings and is now 12th in the points race.
Road ahead: The series heads to Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night. After a disappointing effort at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in early March (similar 1.5-mile track), Gordon and crew chief Alan Gustafson will look to ride the momentum of a good effort at Martinsville.
“We did have a great day with our Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet. Don’t forget to text Hunger to 50555 and help us out. I was real proud of Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and all the guys on this team today. We weren’t great at the beginning. We just worked our way up there slowly, took our time and were patient. Then we had a race car that could run with these guys and we got there and took the lead. That one time I got real lose. I don’t know it just seemed like the track changed on us there at the end and that caution did not help us any either so that got us behind. I thought it was an awesome day for us to drive up there to fifth at the end.”
TOP FIVE FINISH AND YOU LED A LOT OF LAPS, PUT INTO PERSPECTIVE HOW YOUR RUN WAS TODAY?
“You know, it was really good. These tires were tricky today and getting track position was tough but we were really patient with the car at the beginning of the race and then it started coming to us and I thought that Alan and the guys in the pits just did an excellent job and we got ourselves out front, we just couldn’t seem to stay there when it counted most and Kyle was really, really strong on that one run and we couldn’t hold him back and we just tried to hang with him but when that caution came out when we pitted so that caught us out so we had to make up our track position at the end so it was a great top-five finish for us.”
MP3 without spotter chatter
[audio:http://www.scannerbytes.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Jeff-Gordon-2011-04-03-Goodys-Fast-Relief-500-Martinsville.mp3|titles=Jeff Gordon – 2011-04-03 – Goody’s Fast Relief 500 – Martinsville]
MP3 with spotter chatter
[audio:http://www.scannerbytes.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Jeff-Gordon-2011-04-03-Goodys-Fast-Relief-500-Martinsville-with-spotter-chatter.mp3|titles=Jeff Gordon – 2011-04-03 – Goody’s Fast Relief 500 – Martinsville – with spotter chatter]
MP3 Post Race Comments
[audio:http://www.scannerbytes.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Jeff-Gordon-2011-04-03-Goodys-Fast-Relief-500-Martinsville-Post-Race-Comments.mp3|titles=Jeff Gordon – 2011-04-03 – Goody’s Fast Relief 500 – Martinsville – Post Race Comments]