At Darlington, No. 300 in No. 700 for Gordon
Saturday night's Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway marked Jeff Gordon's 700th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start. His finish--third--was his 300th top-five finish in NASCAR's premier series. Matt Kenseth won the 367-lap race.
Gordon, who qualified eighth, had dropped a position before the first caution of the night waved at lap 124.
"I'm tight in the middle of (turns) 3 and 4," Gordon radioed the crew. "But I'm loose and tight on low (tire air) pressures."
Crew chief Alan Gustafson called for a chassis adjustment during the ensuing pit stop, and Gordon restarted eighth on lap 131. The changes helped as the No. 24 Cromax® Pro Chevrolet SS driver maneuvered inside the top five before the next round of green-flag pit stops began on lap 178.
Gustafson called Gordon onto pit road earlier than the leaders, and new tires allowed Gordon to lap the 1.366-mile track quicker than those stretching their fuel mileage. Those fast times sent Gordon to the top of the leaderboard when pit stops were finally completed on lap 186.
Gordon held the lead until he was passed by Kyle Busch on lap 202. Now, with slightly 'older' tires compared to his competitors, the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion fell to sixth--one of only nine cars on the lead lap--when a caution waved at lap 301.
"I'm too loose in (turns) 1 and 2 now," Gordon told Gustafson. "But I'm tight down in (turns) 3 and 4."
After another stop for tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment, Gordon restarted sixth on lap 308. On lap 333, Gordon passed Carl Edwards for fifth and he gained another spot one lap later when leader Kasey Kahne hit the turn 1 wall. On lap 361, Gordon passed Kyle Busch for third and, although he caught Denny Hamlin in the closing laps, Gordon was not able to snag the runner-up spot before the race ended.
"It was a great result for us--just a great battle by this Cromax® Pro team," said Gordon, who moved up to 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings.
"We bounced between tight and loose, and the car was the best it had been all night right there at the end.
"We wanted this 700th start to be memorable, and I'm proud of this team. We worked hard and it was a solid night with a solid result."
Next Saturday night, Gordon will drive the No. 24 Cromax® Pro Chevrolet SS in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Speed and MRN Radio will broadcast the 7:30 p.m. EDT non-points event live.
Watch exclusive an Axalta Racing exclusive video from Darlington here -> https://axaltaracing.com/darlington-raceway/.
Show your support for Jeff Gordon by joining the official fan club, the Jeff Gordon Network, where you'll get an exclusive JGN diecast, t-shirt, hat, collectable pin, Drive to End Hunger wristband and hero card, as well as other items and exclusive access to promotions, events and the message boards. Plus, a portion of each membership helps support the Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital! Sign up here -> https://signup.jeffgordon.com/!
Click here to download the free Jeff Gordon iOS app -> http://bit.ly/JGiOSApp.
Click here to download the free Jeff Gordon Android app -> http://bit.ly/JGAndroidApp.
To get your #24 Gear, visit www.jeffgordonstore.com.
'Like' Jeff on Facebook - www.facebook.com/jeffgordon.
Follow Jeff on Twitter - www.twitter.com/jeffgordonweb.
Follow Jeff on Instagram - www.instagram.com/jeffgordonweb.
Follow Jeff on Pinterest - www.pinterest.com/jeffgordonweb.
Add Jeff on Google+ - www.google.com/+JeffGordon.
Subscribe to Jeff's YouTube Channel - www.youtube.com/jeffgordon.
To support the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation, visit www.jeffgordonchildrensfoundation.org.
To learn more about how to host your own game and help children kick cancer, please visit http://www.kick-it.org/jeffgordon.