Jeff Gordon will conclude his NASCAR career with victories on 24 different tracks. The one track missing from his trophy collection is Kentucky Speedway. Gordon posted a 7th place finish in the Quaker State 400 — it was his fifth straight top-10 at Kentucky in 5 races there. At the front of the field, Kyle Busch claimed his second victory in the last 3 races as he continues his remarkable comeback from an early-season broken leg and foot.
Gordon started 3rd and moved to the runner-up spot within one lap. The first caution waved on lap 18 for a crash involving Josh Wise. On the restart, Gordon dropped to 5th. He regrouped to take 4th from Kyle Larson on lap 25. The lead lap cars came to pit road after a competition caution on lap 30. Gordon exited pit road in 5th place after taking 2 tires. He slipped back on the restart and ran 9th on lap 40. Gordon continued battling handling issues and ran 12th on lap 50. He held the spot until a debris caution brought the leaders to pit road on lap 81. Gordon restarted in 11th place on lap 85. He re-entered the top-10 on lap 90, and ran in 9th place on lap 95. He passed Larson to take 8th on lap 98 just prior to a caution for Kurt Busch’s spin. Gordon came to pit road for two tires and restarted in 9th place. He moved to 8th on lap 107 with a move around Larson. Gordon slipped to 9th on lap 120 prior to a caution for JJ Yeley’s wall contact. Pit stops followed with Gordon restarting in 17th place because of pit crew contact with Jamie McMurray’s car. At the halfway point, Gordon ran in 13th place.
A debris caution slowed the field on lap 136. Gordon stayed out and restarted in 11th place. He fell to 17th on lap 143 when the caution waved for Jeb Burton’s crash. Gordon came to pit road for 4 tires and restarted in 30th place. He advanced to 25th before the next caution on lap 153. Gordon stayed on the track and restarted in 9th place where he essentially regained the lost track position from the previous pit stop. He quickly moved to 7th on lap 158 and closed on Jimmie Johnson for a position. He took 6th from Johnson on lap 162. However, Brad Keselowski went by on lap 170 to send Gordon back to 7th. A debris caution slowed the field on lap 186. Pit stops followed and Gordon exited in 9th place. He moved to 7th after the restart on lap 192. Keselowski sent him back to 8th on lap 204. The next caution waved on lap 207 for Danica Patrick’s spin. Gordon exited pit road in 12th place. With four tires, he took spots from drivers on two tires and moved to 8th with 52 laps to go. He took 7th from Trevor Bayne with 50 to go prior to a caution for Kyle Larson’s wall contact. With 40 to go, Gordon moved to 6th after taking spots from Keselowski and Kevin Harvick. Gordon held the spot until Keselowski passed with 7 to go.
“As usual in Kentucky it is never easy. The team did a really good job. We had to fight through a few handling issues and some restarts and pit road and a bunch of things, but there at the end everything kind of came together. We got the car working really well, got a couple of good restarts and a good pit stop. It was a solid evening. It wasn’t a winning evening, but I’m still real proud of the effort.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE CHANGES IN THE PACKAGE?
“It’s hard to gauge at this place. It is such a challenging racetrack already. Basically the cars just drove really bad right from the beginning and just always drove bad around all the cars. It didn’t change a whole lot when you are around other cars. I don’t know. I think we have to give it a try somewhere… we’ve got to get the right tires on it. This is not the right tire. It is still way too hard. It doesn’t have near enough grip at the beginning of a run. It doesn’t really fall off. The only way you can make a low downforce package work is to have the proper tire on there. I’m glad we tried it, did a little more work, I’m looking forward to trying it again. I’m looking forward to trying what we are going to have at Indy too.”
source: Jeff Gordon Online
MP3 Download – with spotter chatter
Run Time: 5 minutes
File Size: 614kb
*due to some technical glitches we could only capture the last 30 laps or so of the race. Our apologies.