(Eds: APNewsNow. Will be updated. With AP Photos.) By HANK KURZ Jr. AP Sports Writer Four-time series champion Jeff Gordon looked dead in the water when NASCAR red-flagged his last chance to get into the playoffs because of rain at Richmond International Raceway.
His car wasn't running like it needed to be, and the chance seemed to be slipping away.
But just as major adjustments made by Gordon's crew started to pay off and he began racing up to challenge for the lead, a gamble by Kyle Busch's team failed in the biggest way possible: Gordon, not Busch, grabbed the last spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup - the playoffs that start next weekend.
The stunning late-race turn left Gordon ''ecstatic,'' and Busch apparently speechless after a rain-plagued race that ended early Sunday morning.