Jeff Gordon started 21st and moved into the top-15 by lap 10. He entered the top-10 on lap 22 and took 9th from Dale Earnhardt Jr. on lap 24. After passing Carl Edwards for position on lap 26, Gordon closed in on Ryan Newman for 7th place. He passed Newman and then came to pit road during a green flag pit stop sequence on lap 35. At the 45-lap mark, Gordon ran in 6th place and closed in on Greg Biffle to enter the top-5. Gordon took 5th from Biffle on lap 50. Ten laps later he moved to 4th with a pass on Jimmie Johnson. Gordon stayed out to lead during a green flag pit sequence on lap 70. He slipped to 5th on lap 75 and remained there at the halfpoint point on lap 100.
Gordon took the race lead for a lap during a green flag pit stop sequence on lap 107. However, a costly mistake on pit road resulted in gasman Brad Pickens being dragged with the fuel can across the white line. Gordon was assessed a stop and go penalty on pit road, effectively taking him out of contention. He returned to the event in 19th place, one lap off the pace. He passed Marcos Ambrose to run 18th — the first car one lap down. However, the leader Tony Stewart passed AJ Allmendinger just two laps before a caution for rain on lap 122, thus keeping Gordon a lap down. Gordon pitted for tires under the caution flag. However, a tire violation on pit road dropped him to 26th, the last car 1 lap down. After a red flag for rain, NASCAR called the race just before 2:30pm pacific time.
*Gordon has led a lap in each of the first 5 races of the season for the first time since 2001.
*Gordon is 25th in the series standings– the lowest he’s been in points after 5 races in his NASCAR career.
Turning point A costly penalty on pit road during a green flag stop on lap 108 dropped Gordon off the lead lap. A later penalty on pit road dropped him from 18th to 26th.
[audio:http://www.scannerbytes.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/2012-03-25-Jeff-Gordon-Auto-Club-400-Fontana.mp3|titles=2012-03-25 – Jeff Gordon – Auto Club 400 – Fontana]
MP3 Download – with spotter chatter
[audio:http://www.scannerbytes.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/2012-03-25-Jeff-Gordon-Auto-Club-400-Fontana-with-spotter-chatter.mp3|titles=2012-03-25 – Jeff Gordon – Auto Club 400 – Fontana – with spotter chatter]