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article imageNASCAR: 'Intense' restart propels Gordon to win in Michigan

By John Duarte     Aug 18, 2014 in Sports
Brooklyn - Jeff Gordon won the Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday, for his third victory of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season, and, once again, a great restart was the key, just as it was four weeks ago at Indianapolis.
It wasn't an easy afternoon for Gordon, but on he nailed the final restart of the afternoon, on Lap 183, blowing by Joey Logano and holding on to win the 91st race of his career. It was the great restart that was most exciting for Gordon, who struggled with that part of races earlier in the season.
“Those restarts are so crucial, but also intense here, with the speeds that we're carrying,” he said. “I thought he (Logano) had a good restart, but I had one too. It's pretty nice to have the last two wins come down to restarts. Wasn't an easy victory, even though we had a great race car. Extremely exciting.”
Gordon said he feels like he is on a roll after winning at Indianapolis four weeks ago, followed by strong showings at Pocono Raceway and Watkins Glen, where he dominated the race until mechanical issues saw him drop well back in the field. Gordon said that “I'm shocked as anybody else” about things going well, but he will continue to use the momentum to his advantage while “using your head a little bit” and being patient.
“I'm confident in my car enough that I can put it in places I haven't been able to put it in the past and be a little bit more aggressive when it matters,” Gordon said. “To be a top driver in this series, you got to balance that out with aggressiveness, being smart, utilizing your equipment, making the most of it.
“Right now, I feel like I'm driving smart,” he added. “When things go well and you get better, then you keep going down that path. Right now, I've got great race cars. That's obvious. I think the team definitely has been constantly applying little things, little changes, little improvements to the car along the way.”
Gordon's performance late in the season is sending a strong message to other drivers as NASCAR nation heads into the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Gordon has four championships under his belt, though his last last one came in 2001. Ironically enough, that was the same year he posted his last victory at Michigan International Speedway. Gordon said that is all in the past and the important thing is to stay the course and ride the momentum.
“I feel like we started on a good path at the start of the season and we've continued to do that up to this point,” he said. “I think it will even continue through the next 12 or 13 weeks.”
On Sunday afternoon, the task at hand was to win the Pure Michigan 400. When the race went back to green on Lap 183, Gordon rode the momentum to the front of the field and focused on the finish line. Both second-place finisher Kevin Harvick and Logano agreed they had little for Gordon in the closing laps.
“I wish the last caution didn't come out,” said the third-place finisher. “I won every single restart I was on the front row except the last one. So here I am. It's kind of frustrating.”
“We had a solid day,” Harvick said. “Just the 24 (Gordon) had more speed than we did all day.”
Three races remain in the regular portion of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season. After that, it's on to the Chase for the Sprint Cup, where 16 drivers will vie for the 2014 series title. Gordon's win this week moves him to the top of the Chase grid, where he is followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski.
Under the format implemented by NASCAR for the current season, wins are the primary factor used to determine the 16 drivers who will battle during the final 10-race shootout for the championship. There have been 12 different winners this season, which means there are three races left to secure a spot in the Chase.
The Irwin Tools Night Race is the next event on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. The race goes under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway, in Tennessee, on Aug. 22, 2014.
More about Nascar, Sprint cup series, michigan international speedway, jeff gordon, chase for the Sprint cup
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