April 19 – – There are few moral victories in racing, and rarely would a 31st place finish qualify in that category, but Jeff Gordon made a loud statement in the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Gordon led 124 laps, took no prisoners while racing a teammate, and looked to be in sound position for his first victory in more than a year. However, a late race wreck coming off turn four destroyed the National Guard Special Forces Chevrolet and left Gordon with his first DNF of the season.
Gordon started 12th and entered the top-10 on lap 21 with a pass on eventual winner Denny Hamlin. He steadily worked through traffic by passing Kurt Busch for 9th place on lap 40, and took 8th place from Kasey Kahne two laps later. He entered the top-5 for the first time on lap 48 by getting around Kyle Busch, and took 4th from Clint Bowyer on lap 55. An adjustment during a pit stop under caution on lap 77 moved Gordon up to 3rd in the running order. He dropped to 12th on lap 115 after pitting while others stayed on the track. On the restart, Gordon worked his way back toward the front of the field and gained six spots by lap 120. He re-entered the top-5 on lap 126 with a pass on Kurt Busch, and took the runner-up spot five laps later. He tracked down and passed Dale Earnhardt Jr for the race lead on lap 137. By lap 150, Gordon had extended to a 3-second lead. Gordon lost the lead during a pit stop sequence, but regained it from Earnhardt Jr on lap 182.
Gordon swapped the lead briefly with Jimmie Johnson with 100 laps to go. Gordon pulled up to the rear of Johnson’s car in turn four which loosened Johnson’s car to the point where he climbed the hill in the corner to save the car. As Gordon pulled low on the fronstretch, Johnson turned into the right side of Gordon’s car. The contact eventually resulted in a flat tire for Johnson and stirred ill-will by both drivers over the in-car radio. Gordon moved into the lead and maintained a comfortable distance as the laps wound down. However, David Reuitimann’s blown engine with 24 laps remaining slowed the field. Gordon opted for four tires and restarted in 8th place. He made his way to 7th on the inside of Tony Stewart coming off turn four with 17 laps to go. Stewart got loose and tried to save his car. He touched the right side of Gordon’s car, which further sent his car out of shape. Stewart then clipped the right rear of Gordon’s car sending him into the frontstretch wall. More than six other drivers were collected in the melee. Gordon exited his car and immediately went to Stewart’s wrecked car for an explanation. Stewart assumed blame for the wreck after viewing the replay. “It was my fault, I feel bad about doing something stupid like that,” Stewart said. “I didn’t plan on getting loose, but it is 100 percent my fault. It wasn’t (Jeff’s) fault, obviously. I got a chance to see it in the infield care center, it is definitely my fault. I apologize to all the teams and drivers that got caught up and their fans for it. We had a really good car there and just a shame that it happened let alone to some of your teammates like that.”
In Car Audio
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Jeff’s Post Race Comments
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Steve Letarte’s Post Race Comments
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Jimmie Johnson Post Race Comments
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Chad Knaus Post Race Comments
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Tony Stewart Post Race Comments
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