No. 24 Team Recovers From Contact With Wall To Finish 11th at Auto Club Speedway
Even after contact with the turn 2 wall in Sunday's Auto Club 400, Jeff Gordon nearly scored a top-10 finish. The three-time Auto Club Speedway winner finished 11th and moved up three spots to 18th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings.
Gordon, who started 19th, was inside the top 15 by lap 35. But one lap later, he reported "...somebody blew [an engine] and a couple of us got into the wall back here [off turn 2]."
The damage did not appear to be significant, so Gordon remained on the track during the caution period. But the damage affected the handling of the No. 24 Chevrolet at speed, and Gordon fell to 26th before a caution waved at lap 89.
During the caution period, the No. 24 team worked to repair the damage during several pit stops. Gordon restarted 26th just before halfway and was up to 13th when a caution waved with 16 laps to go. Crew chief, Alan Gustafson, called Gordon onto pit road for a four-tire stop, and Gordon restarted 14th with 11 laps to go. In the race to the checkered flag with three and sometimes four-wide racing, Gordon was able to gain three positions.
"We had to fight hard to get that finish," Gordon said after the race won by Kyle Busch. "I didn't think I got into the wall that hard early in the race, but it really changed the car.
"We were either too tight or too loose. We just couldn't find the grip with the tires."
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will take Easter weekend off before returning to action at Martinsville Speedway for the STP Gas Booster on April 7. Fox and MRN Radio will broadcast the event live beginning at 1 p.m. EDT.
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