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Food City 500 - Bristol Motor Speedway

After incidents and accidents, Jeff Gordon finished 4th in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Gordon, who qualified 15th, moved into fifth place on lap 431 when leader Kevin Harvick's left front tire went flat, forcing him to pit. He closed in on fourth place Tony Stewart when the caution flag flew on lap 447.

As the top three cars of Elliott Sadler, John Andretti, and Jeremy Mayfield began to break away, it became a race for the fourth position between Gordon and Stewart. Gordon had been trying to put a move on to pass Stewart as the laps wound down, and was finally given an opening on the final lap. He got a run on Stewart coming off of Turn 2, and got way down on the apron to make an inside pass on Stewart's Pontiac in Turn 3. Suddenly, Stewart moved down and the two cars rubbed sheet metal. Gordon was able to hold on to his car for a fourth place finish, but Stewart's car spun toward the outside wall. Tony Stewart finished 25th.

"I guess Tony didn't realize I was underneath him down the back straightaway, because it's pretty obvious to me," he said. "I got a heck of a run and he slipped up coming off of (Turn) 2. I had my nose in there, and I guess somebody didn't tell him I was there because it was pretty obvious. I did everything I could to keep from hitting him.

"I don't want to come to the last lap like that, but you've got a position and you've been working on it for a long time, you're going to do it and your going to take everything you can all the way to the end," Gordon said. "I thought that it was pretty clean."

On the cool down lap, in his anger (imagine that), Tony Stewart came up and spun Jeff Gordon's car on pit road. After the race the two drivers, their crew chiefs, and team owners were called into the NASCAR hauler. Kevin Triplett, NASCAR's director of operations, said penalties may be forthcoming and would likely be announced by Tuesday.


Tony loses his head

"It's just racing. It's just Bristol. It's part of the deal," said Stewart. "The reason we ended up in the (NASCAR) trailer is because I spun him on the pit lane and that was wrong. I could have hurt somebody, in all reality. I apologize to … all of our sponsors for doing that because that wasn't right.

"I've got no hard feelings against Jeff and I don't think he has any against me. We're both aggressive and we both want to win and we both want to get every spot we can get every time we're on the race track. We just had a meeting of the minds in the last quarter of the last lap after a 500-lap race."

Asked what he thought about Stewart's retaliation, Gordon said: "That didn't surprise me one bit."

Notes:

  • Gordon's fourth place finish moved him up to second in the Points standings, 45 points out of first place.
  • Jeff is among only three drivers to lead at least one lap in every race this year. The other two are Mark Martin, and Sterling Marlin.
  • Gordon also has the most top five's of anyone this season with four.
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