Jeff Gordon bolsters Eliminator Round hopes with runner-up finish


Out of the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers, Jeff Gordon was the only one to be on the good side of the Chase Grid going into tonight’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

However, with the Top 8 drivers advancing to the Eliminator Round, Gordon held the eighth spot by just eight points over teammate Kasey Kahne. The four-time Sprint Cup champion was still in a precarious position and needed a big result to put himself farther up the Grid.

Mission accomplished. Gordon couldn’t keep up with race winner Kevin Harvick on the final restart with two laps to go, but his second-place finish elevated him to sixth on the Grid and stretched his cushion over the cutoff to 18 points.

He’ll certainly take that momentum as he prepares to race his way into the Eliminator Round in next weekend’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

“Kevin got out there on us after that last green flag stop, and it looked like we were gonna be second,” Gordon said to ESPN. “I didn’t want to see another restart, because every time we start on the inside, we seemed to lose positions.

“But there at the end, and in the whole race, we were just trying to tune and make it better. We got off a little bit, lost some track position – I had some terrible restarts – but there at the end, four tires, good adjustments, and we were able to get right up in the thick of it. Kevin was tough. I knew when he got up front, it was gonna be hard to beat him.”

But while he has some breathing room now, he’s not out of the woods yet. Talladega still awaits.

“It doesn’t make us by any means very comfortable going into next week, but a lot better than it could be,” he said.

Gordon was especially strong during the first 100 laps of the race, when he took the lead from pole sitter Kyle Busch at Lap 14 and did the same again at Lap 38.

A cycle of green flag stops at Lap 79 ended with him up front once more, but while Gordon ceded the point eventually, he remained firmly embedded in the Top 5 at halfway.

Toward the end of the race, Gordon made another late charge. He moved into “podium” position with 38 laps remaining before taking second behind Harvick with 31 to go.

A final round of green flag stops with about 20 to go kept Gordon in second before Brian Vickers suffered an engine failure with seven laps to go.

Like Harvick, Gordon stayed out on track to prepare for the restart with two to go, which went Harvick’s way as he cleared Gordon off Turn 2 on their way to the white flag.

Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points


Three riders remain locked in a tight battle with 17 points separating the leader Cooper Webb from third-place Chase Sexton and these are only a few Supercross numbers to consider entering Seattle.

Seattle Supercross numbers
Chase Sexton made a statement in Detroit with his second win of 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

For the fifth time in 10 rounds. Sexton, Webb, and Eli Tomac shared the podium in Detroit. Between them, the trio has taken 23 podiums, leaving only seven for the remainder of the field. Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia have two each with Aaron Plessinger scoring the other.

Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.

Tomac has won two of the last three Seattle races and those two wins in this stadium are topped only by James Stewart. Fittingly, if Tomac gets a third win this week, he will tie Stewart for second on the all-time wins’ list. Tomac tied Ricky Carmichael for third with 48 wins at Oakland and took sole possession of that spot with his Daytona win.

Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.

The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.

In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.

Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.

Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.

Last Five Seattle Winners

2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto

2022: Hunter Lawrence
2019: Dylan Ferrandis
2018: Aaron Plessinger
2017: Aaron Plessinger
2014: Cole Seely

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

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SMX develops “Leader Lights”
Power Rankings after Detroit
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Results and points after Detroit
Chase Sexton wins in Detroit, penalized seven points