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Jeff Gordon sitting pretty after runner-up finish at Pocono

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Sunday, Aug. 04, 2013

Clinging to a spot in the Top 10 in the Sprint Cup Series standings and without a win this season, Jeff Gordon was in position with two of 160 laps remaining Sunday to gain points and a victory.

He got the first but not the second as Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne passed him on the final restart, leaving Gordon to collect a distant second place.

The finish gave Gordon a little more breathing room in the Top 10, which guarantees a spot in the Chase. Five races remain before the Chase field is set.

“I’m just having fun up there duking it out for the win. Kasey was the guy to beat,” Gordon said after the race. “We got a good restart, got in front of him and then that last one I got the perfect restart.

“I thought I needed to protect the inside and man, he drove right by me on the outside. Hats off to him and a little bummed for the team, but also got to look at the bright side.”

Gordon moved from 10th to ninth in the series standings, but more importantly, he now has an eight-point margin over Tony Stewart, who is in 11th place.

That’s not a large cushion, but far better than the one-point margin Gordon was working with heading into Sunday’s race.

“This stretch of races that are coming up, I think, is one of the reasons we made the Chase last year. They’re just good tracks for us,” Gordon said.

“If we can start to put the execution together with the performance, I feel like we have a shot at staying in the Top 10.”

Gordon only twice made it into the lead on Sunday afternoon but he said the payoff was considerable.

“When you get out front there, boy, it is amazing how much grip it has. The further we got to the front the better the car drove and hung in there all day,” Gordon said.

“We’ve had good cars here for a while. We just haven’t started good and (when we) got that track position today, things went our way.”



Utter: 704-358-5113; Twitter: @jim_utter
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