TEAM CHEVY DRIVERS JEFF GORDON AND
JIMMIE JOHNSON POST TOP-5 RUNS AT DOVER
DOVER, DE – September 30, 2012 – Hendrick Motorsports driver Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, posted a solid second place finish at the “Monster Mile” today and gained ground in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) point standings moving up two positions with seven races to go. The finish was Jeff’s 22nd top-ten finish in 40 races at Dover International Speedway.
Gordon’s Hendrick teammate, Jimmie Johnson No. 48 Lowe’s /Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, also notched a top-five finish (4th) after leading 43 laps today. Johnson, who won at Dover in the Spring and has seven total wins at the one-mile speedway, is second in the overall point standings – just five markers back.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, got a lap down early and never got an opportunity to get back on the lead lap and came home 11th. Earnhardt remains seventh in the overall standings after three Chase races. Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet, battled a loose-handling car most of the day but was able to score a 13th-place finish.
Kasey Kahne looked to have a shot at the win late in the race, but a vibration in the car forced them to pit and they had to settle for a 15th-place finish. Kahne is sixth in the point standings after today’s finish.
Defending series champion Tony Stewart, No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, also lost valuable track position when an untimely caution fell right after the team had stopped under green early in the race. They were not able to make up the deficit and finished 20th. Stewart falls one spot in the standings to fifth.
Brad Keselowski (Dodge) was the race winner, Mark Martin (Toyota) finished third, and Carl Edwards (Ford) finished fifth to round out the top-five.
Next stop on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tour is Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2012.
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET – FINISHED SECOND
KERRY THARP: Let's roll into our post-race for today's race here at Dover International Speedway. Our race runner‑up was Jeff Gordon.
Jeff, certainly a good showing out there for you this afternoon. Another strong showing as you are working your way trying to claw back into this thing.
JEFF GORDON: Yeah, thank you. I thought it was a solid effort. Our car was pretty good right from the start. We struggled a little bit on the shorter runs. But we got it going. The car was a good top three or four car.
Then we started really struggling on restarts. Front tires, really no grip the first 10 laps. So we started losing positions on restarts. That probably played to our favor because we lost track position and then we ended up coming in and topping off there at the end.
We had a good racecar. Once we got going, then we were good. Gave us the opportunity to not have to save fuel, keep the pressure on those other guys so couldn't conserve as much.
The No. 2 made it. Got a little bit tight at the end. I thought it was going to be a race between me and Mark. I saw him back there. We had a little bit of a gap. My car was working pretty good right there. Started getting tight. Boy, here he come. We knew it could turn out to come down to a fuel mileage race.
Still a great finish. Come home second. This is nice to follow up with what we had last week. We're running good. We were running good at Chicago when we had the issue. I'm proud of this team. Just taking a few steps in the points each week. We got seven more weeks to get it done.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions now for Jeff.
Q. Jeff, it seems like no matter how well you do, your increase in points is incremental. How frustrating is that?
JEFF GORDON: Yeah, you guys focus too much on the top guy and not enough on fifth place. We have to look very realistically at this point. It's only been two weeks since we had our incident in Chicago. We've gained a tremendous amount of points on fifth place, sixth place. We did that again today.
We're not going to continue this championship against those guys up front if they keep running the way they're running. The only way we're going to get a chance at them is if they have a problem like we had.
I think our focus is top fives, try to win. If we keep running like this, we'll get the wins. We can't control what the other guys do, we can only control what we do.
To me, the only thing that's frustrating is what happened to us at Chicago. Other than that, looking at the points, it doesn't even faze us.