Jeff Gordon’s late summer/early fall streak continued as he posted his fifth top-3 finish in the last six races with a runner-up finish in the AAA 400 at Dover Speedway. Gordon ran in the top-10 for the balance of the day, but relied on a splash of gas during the last caution period to make it to the finish. By doing so, he improved his finishing position by at least 5 spots. He moved up to 10th in the points standings, but trails leader (and Dover winner) Brad Keselowski by 48 points.
Gordon started 7th and moved into the top-5 within 10 laps. His forward march continued as he took 4th on lap 15, but was unable to make further headway before a debris caution on lap 70. Gordon dropped a spot on pit stops and restarted in 5th place on lap 78. He took 4th from Clint Bowyer after the 100-lap mark but ran distantly behind the top-3 of Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Jimmie Johnson. Gordon stayed out to lead a lap during a cycle of green flag pit stops on lap 148. A debris caution on lap 178 brought the leaders to pit road. Brad Keselowski tracked down Gordon and dropped him to 5th on lap 214. Another debris caution brought the leaders to pit road on lap 247. Gordon held the 5th spot through the pit stop sequence. On the restart, Gordon fell to 7th after Clint Bowyer and Carl Edwards went by.
With just over 100 laps to go, Gordon passed Edwards. A caution with 90 laps to go for Matt Kenseth’s suspension issues brought the leaders to pit road. Gordon gained a position on pit road and restarted in 5th place. He lost a spot to Bowyer before Kenseth brought out another caution after a spin in turn 4. Gordon came to pit road to top off the fuel tank. He restarted in 7th place with 78 laps to go. As the laps wound down, Gordon took 6th from Bowyer and moved back into the top-5 with a pass on Kasey Kahne with 48 to go. After Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin pitted for fuel, Gordon moved to 3rd. He took 2nd from Jimmie Johnson with 6 laps to go while the #48 was trying to conserve fuel to the finish.
Gordon topped off on fuel during the last caution and was able to make it to the finish — salvaging a better finish than his car was during the event.
“We struggled a little bit on the shorter runs, but when we got going the car was a good top-3 or top-4 car. I’m proud of this team. We’re just taking a few steps in the points every week. We’ve got 7 more weeks to get it done… “We’re not going to win this championship against those guys up front if they keep running where they’re running. Our focus is top-5’s, try to win and if we keep running like this, we’ll get wins. We can’t control what others guys do.”
“Today was a good day; a solid day. The car was good. We were better on the long runs than we were on the short runs. We just couldn’t get going on the restarts. The front tires would just not work. I don’t know; maybe the splitter was hitting or something. So we had issues with that. We were trying to resolve those and it actually worked to our favor because we had to come in and top-off and make a couple of adjustments and then we didn’t have to save fuel there at the end and the car was really good. I thought me and Mark Martin were going to battle it out for the win. He was chasing me down there and those other guys were saving fuel; all but the No. 2 (Keselowski) car and we just came up a little bit short. All in all, it was a great day.”
AS YOU WERE CHASING DOWN BRAD KESELOWSKI THERE AT THE END, DID YOU THINK YOU WERE GOING TO GET HIM?
“The car was really working well through the middle part of that run. The race kind of fell in our lap. We fell back on our restart and had some issues just getting going and then that caution came out and we decided to top-off, so it kind of played to our favor, where we didn’t have to save fuel. The car was just really good on that run. But right there with about 15 (laps) to go, I started getting really, really tight. So I saw I was catching those guys, I was just hoping that they were going to have to save fuel. And everybody did but the No. 2. We knew coming into the Chase that the fuel mileage would be a factor and we’ve known that we’ve been behind on that. The No. 2 car, they’ve got something figured out on fuel mileage. Credit to them. They’ve done their homework and it’s gotten them some wins and it got them one today. But it was a great run for this team.”
source: Jeff Gordon Online
MP3 Download – with all spotter chatter
file size: 4.06mb
[audio:http://www.scannerbytes.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/2012-09-30-Jeff-Gordon-AAA-400-Dover-with-spotter-chatter.mp3|titles=2012-09-30 – Jeff Gordon – AAA 400 – Dover – with spotter chatter]