It was truly a tale of two races for Jeff Gordon as he struggled with handling at the outset. However, a pit call to stay on the track with 20 laps to go brought the DuPont Chevrolet to life as Gordon rallied for a runner-up finish. It was his 3rd top-5 finish in the last 4 races. Gordon struggled with drive off the corner at the outset and fell from 12th to 16th in the first 9 laps. Carl Edwards went by on lap 11 and dropped Gordon back to 17th place. One lap later, Gordon slipped to 18th as Martin Truex passed. He came to pit road for a green flag stop on lap 19. Gordon ran in 16th place when the pit stop sequence cycled through the field. Gordon ran in 17th when the first caution waved on lap 32 for Casey Mears stalling on the racetrack. Gordon pitted for chassis adjustments during the caution flag. He restarted 23rd and avoided a wreck in turn 11 after Tony Stewart shoved Brian Vickers into the corner. Gordon moved up to 17th after working his way around the carnage. On the restart, he entered the top-15 after avoiding Martin Truex’s spin in turn 11. A debris caution on lap 48 slowed the field, which brought a round of pit stops. Gordon restarted 28th on lap 51 due to the first 14 cars staying on the track. Gordon moved up to 22nd by the time the next caution waved on lap 59 for Bobby Labonte’s crash. He made his way up to 16th on lap 64 before fading back to 23rd place. He ran as high as 5th place during a green flag pit stop sequence, but eventually pitted on lap 79. Gordon returned to the race in 26th place. He ran in 24th when Vickers intentionally wrecked Stewart as payback in turn 11. However, Gordon stayed on the track and moved up to 8th for the restart with 19 laps to go. With 18 to go he took 6th place from David Gilliland, but lost the spot to Juan Pablo Montoya who had fresher tires. Gordon moved into 5th when Montoya and Kasey Kahne got together on the track. With 12 laps to go, Gordon eased around Truex for the 4th position. He took 3rd from Brad Keselowski with 9 laps to go. Coming to the white flag, he took the runner-up spot from Carl Edwards.
Road ahead: The series heads to Daytona for the annual early July 400-miler. Gordon qualified on the outside of the front row for the Daytona 500 and was strong at Talladega in April. Gordon led the white flag lap, but finished 3rd in a 3-wide battle to the finish.
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