All eyes have been on @JeffGordonWeb in all of the seven races so far in the 2015 season to see how he will close out his run as a driver in the No. 24 Chevrolet with Hendrick Motorsports. Gordon came into Texas Motor Speedway with hopes of a win, but his car was a challenge for him throughout the 334-lap Duck Commander 500 Saturday night.
He reported handling problems to crew chief Alan Gustafson around lap 26 and struggled to keep in the top 10 in the middle of the race. After the first round of pit stops, his team got him up to the fourth position. He stayed in the fourth and fifth running position until a third round of pit stops on lap 111 when Gordon fell out of the top 10. He was able to ride around in the 13th position and fell back two more spots after a debris caution on lap 173. That’s where he stayed for the last few laps of the race.
On lap 310, @AJDinger met the wall in turns three and four that brought out the last caution of the night. Alan Gustafson made the call for two tires which put Gordon in a position to restart on the front row. He restarted on the outside lane and was side-by-side with @jamiemcmurray for a lap with 21 laps left in the race. Gordon slipped in behind McMurray to stay in the second spot. Gordon could not hold on to the spot with @JimmieJohnson, @DaleJr, and @KevinHarvick on the prowl. They picked Gordon off one-by-one until Gordon came home in the seventh spot, five positions ahead of where he began on the night. His teammate, Jimmie Johnson, won the race.
“Yeah that was a great gamble, great call by Alan,” said Gordon. “We saw early some guys take two tires and made it work for a short period of time,” said Gordon. “I don’t know we just struggled tonight. I’m not really sure where we are missing it. I just had my hands full. We were not able to get the balance just right. But we didn’t give up. I’m proud of that. We made it good at one point and then we got off and then we had to kind of start over and got it pretty good there at the end. Great to have Panasonic and Toughbook on board we love their involvement at Hendrick Motorsports.”
He later found out that were was a possible brake issue.
“Yeah, I don’t know if I had a brake problem we had a brake bias adjuster that was not functioning properly. We struggled. Early on, we weren’t great. We made some adjustments. We got some decent track position; I thought we were going to be pretty good. (Dale Earnhardt) Junior got to the outside of me on a restart. Our car just wasn’t very good right there. I really struggled, and we fell back and never regained it. Alan made a great two-tire call there at the end, and we ended up coming home seventh.”
Gordon and the No. 24 team will have some notes to go by when he races in his final Texas Motor Speedway race in November.
“Yeah, Texas is tough when everything is working right for you. Our Panasonic/Tough Books Chevrolet was just….I don’t know….just trying to get the balance right in it. Obviously our teammates have it worked out because all of them were fast, and obviously we have got some work to do, and I have got to figure this package out. We struggled, and we fought through it and we didn’t give up. Alan made a great call there at the end to take two tires, and that is what got us to seventh.”
Gordon will head into the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway 13th in points. He is looking for his first win of the season and his sixth Sprint Cup Series victory at the half-mile track in Tennessee. The race is Sunday, April 19 at 1 p.m. ET.
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