Found September 09, 2012 on Fox Sports:
Jeff-gordon-waits-qualify
Jeff Gordon never gave up. He promised his team - and his fans - that he wouldn't go down without a fight. And fight he and his No. 24 team did, with a second-place finish at Richmond International Raceway to snag a ticket to the 2012 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup. With 12 points separating Gordon from 12th-place Kyle Busch entering the 26th and final race of the regular season, Gordon qualified his car second. He then led two of the first 10 laps of Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400 before his car began to fade. Then, Gordon was haunted by gremlins. His ill-handling car developed brake issues. He then thought there was a vibration. And then the oil temperature shot up to 300 degrees as he dropped to 17th on Lap 120. Seven circuits later, Denny Hamlin put the No. 24 car one lap down. But then luck turned in Gordon's favor. During the fourth caution, the crew cut the chain on the car's sway bar in an effort to help Gordon's handling. He first appeared defeated while the race was delayed by rain. "We just missed it," Gordon said. "It happens." He then joined his crew on the pit box during the ensuing red-flag period and used the time to assess the situation. He relied on crew chief Alan Gustafson and the wealth of information from the other Hendrick Motorsports squads - and their satellites at Stewart-Haas Racing - to devise a plan that would put him back in the hunt. "They were pretty confident that was going to get us close to our teammates," Gordon said. "(Gustafson) was right. I still had a little doubt in him, though." Gordon knew the decision was drastic - but necessary. After the race resumed 52 minutes later, Gordon's car "came to life." Although he restarted 26th on Lap 156, one lap off the pace and 14 positions behind Busch, the team continued to adjust the car. Gordon circumvented traffic over the next 97 laps and inevitably put himself into 17th and in position to earn the beneficiary position for the next caution. Then Gordon's good fortune kept coming. On the sixth caution, Gordon was able to pit and restarted on the lead lap with 118 circuits remaining. While the No. 24 had fresh tires, Busch's team was one of seven cars that elected to stay out on the track. The decision proved futile. Busch was forced to pit 42 laps later and with issues in the pits, offered Gordon enough cushion to close the deal. Gordon gained on the competition and inevitably closed in for a second-place finish to earn his seventh consecutive Chase berth and his eighth appearance overall. The team's accomplishment also enabled all four Hendrick Motorsports teams the opportunity to compete for the championship. "We're in the Chase, damn it," Gordon said. "Oh man we'll kick their a** in the Chase with that (expletive) effort." And what an effort it was. For Gordon and the No. 24 crew to soldier back from being 26th and off the lead lap proved their determination and teamwork. "I felt like I won the race tonight," Gordon said. "When that was over, they told me I was in the Chase, we made it, I mean, I was ecstatic. I was going nuts. "To me, after you have that kind of effort, fall back, then come up there and finish second, almost win the race, make it in by one point, man, I don't see any reason why we can't go over these next 10 races and be a real threat for the championship." Certainly, that's possible for a driver with Gordon's talent. However, at 41, that might be a tall order. Still, with the fight that the he and his team displayed to come from 17th five races ago to earn the final wild-card spot at Richmond, Gordon proved that he might just be ready for the battle of his life and a shot at a fifth championship.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Gordon bringing back the 'stache

Just when you thought Jeff Gordon's mustache was just a bad memory from his 1993 rookie season in Cup . . . it's back. "So as many of u may have heard, I made a statement that if we made the Chase I wud bring back the stache," Gordon tweeted Sunday. "I'm a man of my word." Certainly, even a four-time NASCAR champion can enjoy a second childhood....

Jeff Gordon Now a Contender for 2012 Championship

  After finishing second last weekend at Richmond and securing a "Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup" berth, Jeff Gordon said he felt like he had won the race. Actually, it was nearly three races that he won that night. Gordon entered the 26th race of the 2012 season trailing the points leader by 145 markers. Now, with the points reset for the 12 title contenders entering...

No. 2 spot big boost for Gordon

Dale Earnhardt Jr. posted his first career pole at Richmond on Friday. "I'm surprised as anybody," Junior said after scoring his 11th career Sprint Cup pole in 461 races. But it was advantage Jeff Gordon, who qualified second. Gordon desperately needs a solid finish on Saturday to leapfrog over fellow wild-card contenders in the Federated Auto Parts 400 to earn the...

Jeff Gordon & Tony Stewart Richmond Media Transcript

THE MODERATOR:  We have two of our Chase drivers joining us now at the podium.  Our defending champion is Tony Stewart.  He’ll come into the 2012 Chase seated third.  And Jeff Gordon races his way into the Chase.  Congratulations, Jeff. Let’s hear from you, Tony.  Third seed, you have three wins on the year, defending your championship.  Your thoughts. TONY STEWART: ...

NASCAR Chase, Did That Really Happen? Gordon and Bowyer Big Winners

Last night marked the end of the NASCAR regular season, next weekend we start what is known as ‘The Chase’ at Chicagoland Speedway. In The Chase, the top ten drivers plus Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon (the two “wild card” holders) will battle for their chance to take home the title at Homestead. At Richmond last night, it was down to the wire for the last wild card spot. It...

CUP: Gordon Edges Busch For Wild Card

Teammates Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne grab wild cards for Chase…

Gordon grabs last Chase spot as Busch fades late

(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...

Earnhardt wins pole at Richmond

It's a Hendrick Motorsports front row at Richmond International Raceway. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the pole for Saturday night's ''regular-season'' finale. He turned a lap at 127.023 mph in his Chevrolet to bump teammate Jeff Gordon from the top starting spot. It's the first pole for NASCAR's most popular driver since the 2011 Daytona 500, and it'...

Bowyer, Gordon winners at Richmond

After rain delayed the start of the Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway on Saturday night, Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon were both winners, of sorts, when the race finally ended early Sunday morning. Bowyer claimed the race win, his second of 2012, and with a second-place finish, Gordon took the second wild card spot and the...

Team Chevy Federated Auto Parts 400 Race Recap

RICHMOND, Va. – With a second place finish in the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway, Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, earned a spot in the coveted 2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Gordon’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 5 Quaker State Chevrolet, likewise clinched a slot in the Chase with his 12th place...

Earnhardt on pole, HMS drivers sweep front row at Richmond

  Hendrick Motorsports claimed both front-row starting spots for Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway during pole qualifying on Friday.   Dale Earnhardt Jr. claimed his first-career Richmond pole and his first pole starting spot of the season with a 21.256-second qualifying lap.   “The car drove really...

Bowyer earns second Cup win of '12

Clint Bowyer won the rain-delayed race at Richmond, and Jeff Gordon drove his way into the title picture by grabbing the last wild-card berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Bowyer came back from a mid-race spin to pick up his second win of the season. The Saturday night victory gave the Michael Waltrip Racing driver another three bonus points to take into the Chase...

Top Three Qualifiers Richmond Media Transcript

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet, turned in the fastest lap of the 43 car field and claimed the pole for Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at the Richmond International Raceway. Following him on the starting grid was Jeff Gordon and Regan Smith. Below is their transcript from when they talked to the media afterwards. DALE EARNHARDT...
All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.