Jeff Gordon’s day at Las Vegas changed after the halfway point of the Kobalt 400. After working his way from the rear of the field into the top-10, Gordon made contact during a chain reaction incident and damaged the 3M Chevrolet. Gordon finished a lap down in 18th place, the first time he failed to post a top-15 finish in the first 3 races of a NASCAR season. He sits 30th in the series points standings.
Gordon captured the pole position for the event, but started in the rear of the field after damaging his primary car in a practice incident on Saturday. He made quick work of some of the backmarkers and ran 30th by the end of lap 10. He entered the top-25 on lap 16 with a move around Brian Vickers. Gordon advanced to 21st when the competition caution slowed the field on lap 25. Pit stops followed with Gordon taking 4 tires and restarting in 25th place. His forward march continued as he entered the top-20 on lap 38. However, he complained of a lack of rear grip and moved to 17th by lap 60. Gordon ran 16th when he came in for a green flag pit stop on lap 77. He cycled through in 18th place. A debris caution slowed the field on lap 81. Gordon opted to stay out and restarted in 14th place on lap 85. At the 100-lap mark, Gordon ran in 12th place. He moved to 11th prior to a green flag pit stop on lap 130.
At the halfway point, Gordon ran in 11th place. A caution flag on lap 140 brought Gordon to pit road for a 2-tire change, which moved him into the top-10 for the first time. Gordon restarted in 9th, but dropped out of the top-10 after getting held on the inside line by Paul Menard. He recovered to move to 11th by lap 12, and took 10th from Jamie McMurray on lap 154. Jimmie Johnson’s cut tire and wall contact on lap 172 brought out the caution. Gordon made contact with Jeb Burton who slowed to avoid Johnson entering turn 1. Gordon’s car sustained damage to the front of the car. The crew made repairs on pit road and Gordon restarted in 16th place. However, the damage impeded Gordon’s progress and he slipped to 17th on lap 180 — the last car on the lead lap. Johnson’s second cut tire on lap 185 brought out the caution as Gordon dropped nearly a half lap behind the leaders. He came to pit road and the crew placed a larger patch over the front of the car. Gordon restarted in 18th place with 75 laps to go. A cauton for Carl Edwards and Kasey Kahne’s on-track contact slowed the field with 72 to go,
Gordon once again came to pit road for additional repairs and restarted in 16th place. With 55 laps to go, Gordon dropped a half lap behind as he struggled with handling because of the damage. He stayed on the track longer than others during a green flag pit sequuence hoping to catch a caution, but eventually came to pit road with 11 laps to go. Gordon cycled through in 18th place, one lap down where he finished the event.
“Jimmie blew a right front tire. I was right behind Jeb (Burton) getting ready to make a move on him. I wasn’t sure if I was going to go inside or outside. All of a sudden he started checking up. I thought he was doing it to let me go by him. I didn’t realize until right at that moment when my spotter said something that Jimmie was having a problem, and then I ran in the back of him. It ruined the front. It ruined our day. The car just wouldn’t go down the straightaway, and then was real tight. Man, we were coming. We had one weird set of tires. We drove up there right at the beginning. The car was amazing on rails. The next set of tires the thing was just terrible loose. So, we made an adjustment and then the car went back to being tight. So, I don’t know what happened there. That got us off a little bit. But, great effort. Just can’t believe the way these days are going.”
source: Jeff Gordon Online
Run Time: 22 minutes
File Size: 2.5mb
MP3 Download – with spotter chatter
Run Time: 37 minutes
File Size: 4.3mb