Gordon leads laps,
leaves Martinsville as points leader
Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images
Jeff Gordon stands in the garage area at Martinsville Speedway. Gordon left Martinsville as the points leader.
While he may have not won Sunday’s Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway, Jeff Gordon’s most laps led and runner-up finish Sunday propelled the driver to the points lead.
Gordon scored his seventh second place finish of 2014 and third during the Chase. Gordon now sits with a seven point advantage over fifth place Denny Hamlin.
“Yeah, good points today, certainly a great day for Hendrick Motorsports,” Gordon said post-race. “We know how much Martinsville means to us. Paying tribute to those folks we lost here ten years ago by doing a 1-2 finish is really something.
“I know how many fans were really excited to see Dale Jr. win, and himself, too. They did a great job. So did our team. It's a great way to come out of here.”
Gordon led 105 laps of the race’s first 191 laps. Leading the field to pit road under caution, Gordon sped while proceeding to his pit box, resulting in the four-time champion to restart tail-end of the field.
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images
Denny Hamlin leads Jeff Gordon at Martinsville Speedway.
“You have a sequence of lights on your tach[ometer],” he said. “The way that they're set, you can set them for just different rpm ranges. It's not about a first gear, second gear, it's more about the range they're in in that rpm.
“I was supposed to run one green light in second gear and one red light in first gear. I ran one red light in second gear. That’s way too fast.”
Restarting 31st on lap 206, Gordon worked his way through the field, retaking the lead on lap 335. Gordon led a total of 130 laps, but could not run down teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr.
However, Gordon says he would have used his front bumper had the opportunity presented itself.
“I would have moved him for sure, there’s no doubt in my mind,” Gordon said. “Everybody who is out there racing has to weigh risk versus reward. For me, to win this race, it's worth taking a lot of risk, even if you upset your teammate.
“I think everybody out there that's not in the Chase understands that if that guy can win that race and put himself in Homestead for the championship, you can pretty much guarantee that you're going to get the bumper or get slammed or something.”
The finish was Gordon’s fifth career runner-up finish at Martinsville. In 44 career starts at the short track, Gordon has placed inside the top-ten 35 times, including eight wins. With an average finish of 6.84, Martinsville is statistically Gordon’s best track on the Sprint Cup Series circuit.
With 873 laps led on the season, Gordon needs to lead at least 127 laps over the season’s final three races to clinch 1,000 laps led over the course of the season. Gordon has done the feat nine times in his career but not since 2007.