After replacing two members of the pit crew on the #24 team this week, it was a miscue on pit road that cost Jeff Gordon at Michigan International Speedway. Gordon was running in the top-15 when he pitted on lap 88. However, the jack came down before the left front lug nuts were tightened. A second pit stop put Gordon a lap down. Heavy rain came on lap 138 which shortened the race.
Under overcast skies, Gordon started 6th and used the outside line to his advantage to move up to 4th on the opening lap. The first caution came on lap 11 for rain, which resulted in a red flag. After a one-hour track drying delay, the field rolled off pit road shortly before 2:30pm/eastern. However, as the field circled the track under caution, the rain once again picked up and brought a second red flag condition. After 45 minutes of track drying, the cars rolled off pit road. The green flag waved on lap 28. Gordon held the 4th spot on the restart and ran there at the lap 40 competition caution. Pit stops followed with Gordon opting for two tires. However, with the first stall entering pit road, Gordon was held up by traffic and exited pit road in 13th place. Rain once again picked up and the red flag was displayed for the third time. The restart came at lap 49 and the field ran just 3 laps before a caution for Kyle Busch’s crash coming off turn 4. Gordon slipped to 15th on the inside line. He dropped to 18th after the restart, but worked his way up to 16th by lap 70. He entered the top-15 on lap 75 with a move around Clint Bowyer. Gordon came to pit road for a green flag stop on lap 88. However, Gordon needed to come back to pit road just a lap later to tighten lug nuts on the left front. He cycled through in 38th place, one lap down.
At the halfway point, he ran in 31st place, one lap down. Gordon passed drivers who were a lap down and ran 28th on lap 115. A caution for debris slowed the field on lap 125 with Gordon in 18th place, one lap down. He came to pit road for tires and restarted in 26th place. He moved into the free pass position on lap 131 in 19th place. However, one lap later Ryan Newman went by to put Gordon in 20th place. Rain on lap 137 resulted in a red flag with Gordon in 21st place.
“We have not had the best of days. Our car was pretty good, but we had an issue on that green flag stop and went down a lap. Things didn’t go very well on that restart. We needed this thing to go all the way.”
source: Jeff Gordon Online
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