Jimmie Johnson claimed his 6th NASCAR championship in the last 8 years with an 8th place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway. His Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon posted his best points finish since 2009 by finishing 9th. That earns Gordon a stage invitation at the NASCAR banquet for the 19th time in the last 20 years. Gordon concluded his season with an 11th place effort at Homestead. At the front of the field, Denny Hamlin capped an arduous and injury-plagued season with a victory in the season-finale.
Gordon started 26th and moved into the top-20 within 7 laps. He ran 19th when the first caution waved on lap 10 for debris. Pit stops followed with Gordon exiting in 24th place. He re-entered the top-20 on lap 19 and advanced to 16th on lap 23. The next caution came on lap 24 for Travis Kvapil’s spin. Gordon pitted and restarted in 20th place. He quickly moved up to 17th within a lap of the restart. Gordon entered the top-10 with a move around Ryan Newman on lap 34. Eight laps later he entered the top-5. At the 50-lap mark, Gordon took 4th from Brad Keselowski. The third caution came at lap 68 for debris. Gordon held 4th place through the cycle of pit stops. He dropped to 6th shortly after the restart and was in 7th when the next caution waved on lap 90 for Dave Blaney’s spin. Gordon restarted in 8th place on lap 94. He fell to 9th by lap 100, but rebounded as the run progressed to take 7th from Dale Earnhardt Jr on lap 105. Fifteen laps later he re-entered the top-5. However, Earnhardt Jr went by on lap 123 to send Gordon back to 6th place. Just after the halfway point, Gordon came to pit road for a green flag pit stop.
A debris caution on lap 152 brought pit stops with Gordon holding the 6th spot. As the sun began setting, Gordon moved closer to the front by taking 3rd place from Brad Keselowski on lap 170. The next caution came on lap 193 for debris. Gordon came to pit road and restarted in 2nd place. However, he spun the tires on the restart and dropped to 8th place. He eventually regrouped and moved up to 6th with 64 laps to go. A caution on lap 206 for Paul Menard’s cut tire slowed the field. Gordon exited pit road in 8th place after opting for four tires. He made his way back into the top-5 with a move around Kevin Harvick with 50 laps to go. Paul Menard’s inferno on pit road brought out a caution with 36 to go. Gordon held 5th place through the final round of pit stops. He struggled on the inside line and fell to 9th within a lap of the restart. With 20 to go, he dropped to 10th as Jimmie Johnson went by. Gordon finished the season with a 11th place finish.
Gordon restarted in 5th place on the final restart with 21 laps to go, but struggled on the inside line and dropped back in the field.
source: Jeff Gordon Online
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