Jeff Gordon scored his 87th career win as he played fuel mileage strategy to perfection at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The win allowed Gordon to finish in the top-10 for the 18th time in 20 NASCAR Cup series seasons.
Gordon started 11th and fell to 13th by lap 3. He moved back up to run 11th by lap 20 while battling a tight handling condition. Gordon entered the top-10 on lap 25 with a pass on Mark Martin. He came to pit road for a green flag pit stop on lap 47 and cycled through in 9th place. He soon lost a spot to Brad Keselowski on lap 51. However, he made steady progress as the run continued and ran 8th on lap 70. The first caution waved on lap 78 for debris. Pit stops followed with Gordon restarting in 7th place. He took 6th from Carl Edwards and entered the top-5 with a pass on Jimmie Johnson by the 100-lap mark. Gordon passed Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth in the next 10 laps to run 3rd on lap 110. Green flag pit stops came on lap 131. A caution for debris slowed the field 10 laps later. Gordon opted for 4 tires on the pit stop and restarted in 11th place.
Ricky Stenouse’s wall contact slowed the field on lap 156. Gordon took fuel only on the pit stop and restarted 10th. On fresher tires than most drivers ahead of him, Gordon moved to 5th place with 85 to go. Gordon stayed on the track during a green flag pit stop sequence and led a lap before coming to pit road. He returned to the race in 8th position and quickly moved to 6th. With 40 laps to go. Gordon moved to 4th as Brad Keselowski clinched the 2012 Sprint Cup championship after Jimmie Johnson dropped out of the race.
Gordon took 3rd from Carl Edwards with 36 to go. Since he didn’t need to make another stop, Gordon took the lead after Kyle Busch and Martin Truex pitted. He led Clint Bowyer by more than 2 seconds in the closing laps and scored his second victory of 2012. Gordon has visited Victory Lane at every track he’s ever competed on in the NASCAR Cup series — except Kentucky.
Gordon stretched his fuel to the final pit stop and didn’t need to come in when race leaders Kyle Busch and Martin Truex came to pit road with under 15 laps to go.
source: Jeff Gordon Online
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