Tony Stewart claimed his third NASCAR championship by winning at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Stewart’s victory thrust him into a points tie with Carl Edwards, who finished second. However, Stewart won the championship due to the first tiebreaker — victories. It was the sixth consecutive season that Hendrick Motorsports’ chassis and engines won the series title. Stewart won 3 out of the last 4 races in the season to claim the championship.
Gordon started 7th and moved to 4th by the conclusion on lap 8. Rain on lap 12 brought out the first caution flag. Gordon came to pit road and exited in 13th place after taking four tires. He re-entered the top-10 on lap 23 and moved up to 5th by lap 30. He passed Ryan Newman for 4th place before a caution on lap 34 for Dave Blaney’s spin. After racing resumed, he took 3rd from Kevin Harvick on lap 46 and moved into the runner-up spot on lap 50. Gordon came to pit road for a green flag pit stop on lap 80. The field cycled through before David Ragan’s blown engine on lap 83. A caution for rain on lap 108 brought the leaders to pit road for a red flag period.
The race resumed after nearly a 90-minute delay at 6pm. Gordon came to pit road for tires and exited in second place behind Kevin Harvick, who opted for two tires. Gordon took the lead after the restart, but lost the top spot to Tony Stewart after pacing the field for 6 laps. Edwards took the 2nd spot from Gordon on lap 130. A caution for Trevor Bayne’s wall contact brought the field to pit road. Gordon restarted in 5th place on lap 140. However, he slipped to 10th before a caution for Jimmie Johnson’s spin on lap 145. Gordon steadily moved back up to 7th on lap 153. A caution for a multi-car wreck involving Landon Cassill, Trevor Bayne, and Cole Whitt slowed the field on lap 155. Pit stops followed with Gordon exiting in 5th place. He fell to 9th on the restart, but regrouped to take 8th from Newman with 100 laps to go. With 85 to go, Gordon moved into 6th place as championship contenders Edwards and Stewart battled at the front of the field.
Gordon came in for a green flag pit stops with 68 laps to go and cycled through in 6th place. A caution flag for rain with 55 laps to go slowed the field. After a lengthy caution period, Gordon ran 10th with 35 to go while Stewart and Edwards battled 1-2 at the front for the Sprint Cup title. With 20 to go, Gordon moved up to 7th place as Stewart led Edwards by more than a second for the Cup series championship. With 10 to go, Gordon advanced to 5th place.
For the first time, Gordon scored more victories in a season than Johnson. In addition, he led more than 920 laps in a season for the first time since 2007.
Road Ahead: After some down time over the Thanksgiving holiday, Jeff Gordon will head to Las Vegas for the NASCAR banquet on December 2. Following that, he’ll visit Rwanda with his family to view the health situation as the pediatric cancer care center is built.