For the second time in four weeks, Jeff Gordon scored an impressive victory in the NASCAR Cup series. Gordon pulled away from Joey Logano on the final restart with 17 laps to go en route to his 3rd victory of the season and 91st of his career. Gordon’s 447th top-10 finish moved him past Bobby Allison into sole possession of 3rd all-time in NASCAR history. Gordon started on the pole and opted for the outside line. Joey Logano took the race lead on the inside after exiting turn 2 on the opening lap. The first caution came on lap 4 after Kyle Busch made contact with the wall. Gordon ran 2nd to Logano until the competition caution on lap 20. Gordon came to pit road for 2 tires and restarted in 5th place on lap 24. The next caution came just after the restart when Danica Patrick spun in turn 2. The melee collected Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex, Justin Allagaier, Trevor Bayne, and Michael Annett. Gordon struggled on the restart on lap 30 and dropped to 7th place. He regrouped to take 6th from Jamie McMurray on lap 34 prior to a debris caution on lap 36. Gordon stayed out and restarted in 4th on lap 39. He quickly moved to 2nd on the outside line behind Logano. He tracked down Logano and took the race lead on lap 59 before coming to pit road for a green flag stop on lap 64.
Gordon lost a spot to Logano during the pit sequence as the crew removed a spring rubber. Gordon passed Logano for position as the pit sequence ended, thus giving Gordon the race lead once again. The next caution came on lap 96 for Kyle Larson’s hard crash in turn 3. Gordon came to pit road for 4 tires and restarted in 5th place. He slipped to 7th on the inside line before taking 6th from Greg Biffle on lap 110. Five laps later, he re-entered the top-5 with a move around McMurray. Gordon advanced to 3rd on lap 125 with a pass on Dale Earnhardt Jr, and took the runner-up spot from Kevin Harvick on lap 133. He came to pit road for a green flag stop on lap 139. When the sequence cycled through, Gordon had the race lead. He extended his lead to 2 seconds before a green flag stop for two tires on lap 166. Logano cycled through with the race lead just ahead of Gordon after the round of stops.
A caution for Brad Keselowski’s wall contact slowed the field on lap 168. Gordon lined up alongside Logano for the restart with 28 laps to go. Gordon dropped to 3rd on the inside line after the restart. A caution for Brian Vickers’ spin with 26 laps to go brought another restart. He took 2nd when Kurt Busch slammed the wall with 23 laps to go, which brought out the caution. On the restart with 17 to go, Gordon shot into the lead heading into turn 1. He pulled away for his 3rd win of the season and 91st of his career.
Gordon got a strong restart on the inside of Logano with 17 laps to go. He shot into the lead and never looked back.
“It wasn’t easy. It’s never easy to win at any of these tracks, especially when aerodynamics and track position mean so much. I thought we learned a lot the last time we were here on track position. Alan just called a perfect race. I kept getting on that inside lane and just not getting very good restarts. I knew it was going to get exciting with Kurt (Busch) and Joey (Logano). Those two are very, very aggressive; and of course Kurt got loose. That last restart was it. We had the car to win. Our car was amazing. But whoever got out in front had such a huge advantage. I got a good restart and Kevin (Harvick) for some reason, wasn’t getting good restarts, so Joey was sort of out there by himself and I was able to get to his quarter. When I got to his quarter, I dragged him back and I was able to shoot to the bottom and get by. But he made a heck of an effort. I thought he was going to get back by me; he almost did. And I just needed a couple of laps for my tires to come in and all of a sudden we were out front and setting sail and the checkered flag was waving. This is just unbelievably awesome. I’ve got to say hi to Ingrid and Ella and Leo back home. They couldn’t come today. But we’re celebrating your honor here and this is just amazing. This is fantastic.”
WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS CAR AND THE RULES PACKAGE THAT IS PLAYING INTO YOUR HANDS THIS YEAR?
“It’s everything. It’s Hendrick Motorsports and the job that they do, collectively, with all of our teammates and the engineers. Everybody who is building the chassis and the bodies and the cars back at the shop; the engines are amazing. And then, I’ve got to give so much credit to Alan Gustafson and his crew. This guy is a great leader. I knew that he had this in him and he’s just been showing it by bringing great race cars every weekend. Today it was more than just a great race car, it took the whole team effort and making great calls and of course, I had a good restart again. That was fun. And these guys; they’re just awesome. Rick Hendrick is here and I love celebrating wins with him.”
TALK ABOUT THAT LAST RESTART AND HOW YOU WERE ABLE TO GET BY JOEY LOGANO
“I had a couple of different ones that didn’t go so well today. On that inside lane it was tough. Joey was so aggressive and good on the restarts. His car could really take off. But Kevin (Harvick) behind him was having a little bit of trouble on the restarts so he kind of got out there on his own and I got a really good start and I just got to his quarter just before we got to turn one, his left-rear. I was able to drag him back a little bit and when that happened it just gave me the momentum and allowed me to get ahead of him. I just didn’t lift. Went to the bottom, didn’t lift. I was on the inside of him on a previous restart and I kind of learned what not to do on that one. I knew my car was good enough, but even when we got out front with this car, Joey had a good run at us. His car was just turning so good at the beginning of a run that he got back to my bumper got me loose and I thought it was over at that point. Luckily I was able to stay on the outside of him and had a little push from Kevin (Harvick) that time to get by him.”
TAKE US THROUGH THAT MOVE
“He could just attack the entry of the corner. Those Penske cars all year long have been able to drive in the corner so deep and get the car to turn for whatever reason we seem to be better than them on the long runs. I knew getting out front was going to be a huge advantage. I tried to hedge toward the bottom. I knew that was the way it was going. I just had to lift early to keep the front-end cutting. When I did he got to me and it started loosening up the back end. I tried to stay in the gas as much as I could and keep as much momentum because I knew he was going to get inside of me and I was just hoping I could stay with him and I was able to. When I was able to stay on his quarter panel and when Kevin got behind me it just gave me a big shove and push into turn three. Those guys got side-by-side and at that point I knew it was over if we just could get to the checkered flag.”
IT’S BEEN 13 YEARS SINCE YOU WON HERE. IT’S ALSO BEEN 13 YEARS SINCE A CHAMPIONSHIP YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE DRIVE FOR FIVE NOW AS YOU HAVE WON A THIRD TIME THIS YEAR AS YOU ARE BACK IN THE POINTS LEAD?
“As I told you before the race started our Chase has already started. This team is championship caliber, but we have a lot of work to do. It’s going to be tough and we want to put ourselves in the mindset of right now we are in it. We don’t want anything to change and do anything different when we get to Chicago. Other than keep going and charging for those wins. That is what we did today. I’m just so proud. Thanks to all the fans. We had an awesome Michigan crowd here today. To win here in Michigan in the backyard of Chevrolet driving this car is always special.”
source: Jeff Gordon Online
MP3 Download – no spotter chatter, Jeff only.
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MP3 Download – with spotter chatter
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MP3 Download – Jeff Gordon Post Race Press Conference
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MP3 Download – Crew Chief Alan Gustafson & Rick Hendrick Post Race Press Conference
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