Jeff Gordon posted a 12th place finish in the AAA 400. He hasn’t finished inside the top-10 in the last four races at Dover Speedway. Gordon faced an uphill struggle from the outset after starting 34th. He ran as high as 9th during the day, but was never a factor for the lead. He slipped to 9th in the series standings and trails the leaders by 19 points.
Gordon started 34th and gained six spots in the first 4 laps to move into 28th place. He gained four more spots and ran 24th on lap 10. By lap 17, he was on the cusp of the top-20 as he took a spot from Juan Pablo Montoya. Light rain slowed the field on lap 19 with Gordon in 20th place. At the competition caution on lap 40, Gordon ran 19th. Pit stops followed with Gordon exiting in 26th place. He re-entered the top-20 on lap 70, and took 19th from Tony Stewart on lap 73. Gordon moved up tp 14th before a round of green flag pit stops on lap 112. After a 13-second stop, Gordon cycled through in 13th place. He took 12th from Mark Martin on lap 121 and closed in on Kevin Harvick for entry into the top-10. A caution for contact involving Casey Mears on lap 136 slowed the field. Gordon opted for two tires and restarted in 9th place. He dropped to 10th on lap 156 when Harvick went by. Battling a tight handling condition, he dropped to 12th by lap 160. A debris caution brought the field to pit road on lap 175. Gordon opted for four tires and restarted 13th. However, he struggled on the restart and dropped to 17th on lap 190. As the run progressed, Gordon moved back up to 14th on lap 210.
Gordon re-entered the top-10 on lap 235 with a move around Harvick. Following a round of green flag pit stops Gordon ran in 15th place. A caution flag for rain came on lap 255 and allowed Gordon to pit to top off the gas tank. He made his way to 14th on lap 280 and ran 13th when the caution waved on lap 300. With 85 laps to go, Gordon moved into 12th place. Mike Bliss’ crash with 47 laps to go slowed the field and brought the leaders to pit road. Gordon advanced to 11th when Greg Biffle crashed with 39 laps to go. Gordon finished the race in 12th place and dropped to 9th in the series standings.
Road ahead: Kansas Speedway looms on the horizon — following a mid-week jaunt to the Arizona desert for a test session at the revamped Phoenix International Raceway. “Kansas is a good track for us,” Gordon said. “I’m very excited about going back there. I feel like Kansas is where we really turned the corner this year with our 1.5-mile program. We ran really strong there and I felt like we had a shot at winning that race.”
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