Is this Jeff Gordon’s year? He’s had his best season in years and collected his fourth win of the season in Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway putting him safely into the contender round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Gordon stayed in the top five for the entire race and took over the top running spot twice during the day’s contest. Gordon would have to work to get by Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick who dominated the race. Harvick led 223 laps on the day. His streak ended when an issue with the left front tire would damage the splitter and his chances of a win. Despite leading 223 laps of the 400-lap race, Harvick finished one lap down in the 13th spot.
Brad Keselowski had a solid day in the No. 2 Wurth Ford for Team Penske. He was able to lead 78 laps on the day and finished second.
For four drivers, it was the end of the road for them in the Chase. Kurt Busch fought an ill handling race car for much of the day, as did AJ Allmendinger and that didn’t help them in their efforts to advance to the next round of the Chase. Greg Biffle and Aric Almirola also had a challenging day and they have been eliminated from the championship hunt.
Those who will advance to the contender round include Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, and Kasey Kahne.
Kahne was able to keep his bid for the Chase after fighting back from being two laps down after an early green flag pit stop and a caution that came out 12 laps later.
The top 10: Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch.
The drivers now head to Kansas Speedway to begin the second round in the Chase which is set for Oct. 5, followed by Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 11. Another elimination round will happen after the Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 19.