Team Chevy’s Jeff Gordon crossed the finish line 0.797 seconds behind race winner Brad Keselowski in the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway Saturday, bumping him out of first place in the Sprint Cup standings by 3 points. The race was the last of the Sprint Cup’s 26 race regular season and last chance for drivers to lock in a spot in the chase, which will begin next week.
Keselowski dominated almost the entire race after starting from pole position and leading 383 of the 400 laps. The performance moved Keselowski into first place in the driver’s standings and marked the Team Penske driver’s fourth win so far this year. He wasn’t without competition though, with Stewart Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick taking a high line on Keselowski and passing him on lap 43.
Race officials put a caution out on lap 50 for teams to check their tire wear, which allowed Keselowski to steal the lead back from Harvick after a quick pit stop. Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer also began to make up ground and close in on Keselowski, however Matt Kenseth put out a second caution flag after his #20 Toyota broke traction and hit the wall on lap 120.
Harvick and Bowyer opted to pit under the caution, which allowed Gordon to move into second place. The race would run a consistent 131 laps before another caution was put out, this time for debris on the track. Upon the restart, Gordon lost his spot to Bowyer while Keselowski moved further into the lead. On lap 315. Gordon managed to reclaim second before another caution was put out for a shirtless fan who had climbed the catch fence.
Greg Biffle and Ryan Newman, two drivers who were still looking to secure a spot in the chase for the Sprint Cup, earned their spots by finishing 19th and ninth, respectively. Team Chevy drivers in the top ten included Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Jimmie Johnson.
Ford’s Keselowski will be looking to hold off Team Chevy’s Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. when the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup championship kicks off with the Myafibstory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14.