Disaster for Gordon

Fighting a car whose handling wasn’t to his liking, Jeff Gordon wrecked near the end of the esses on Lap 14 and put his chances of qualifying for the Chase in serious jeopardy.

“It’s unfortunate,” said the four-time champion, who fell four spots to 13th in the standings and doesn’t have a victory to establish a claim on a wild-card berth. “I had a big run on the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin), and I got up on him, and the nose just completely took off and put me in the wall.”

Gordon lost 23 laps in the garage while he crew restored the car to quasi-drivable condition. If Gordon is to salvage a Chase spot, he knows what the game plan has to be–and it doesn’t involve finishes like the 36th he scored on Sunday.

“Fight hard,” he said. “Just keep working to go to the next race and qualify better, execute better and not make mistakes. That was my mistake. That was on me today. We can’t have stuff like that happen.”