Pit Calls Good With Gordon

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Jeff Gordon was again in position for a possible victory Saturday night in the Subway Fresh Fit 600 at Phoenix International Raceway, but came up just short and settled for second behind winner Ryan Newman.

The four-time champion had the lead on the race's final restart but spun his tires at the drop of the green flag allowing Newman to take the lead and drive on to the eventual win.

But Gordon made no excuses for not driving his DuPont Chevrolet to its first victory in nearly a year.

"I just spun the tires on that last restart," Gordon said. "And Ryan got a really good one. We both, I thought, kind of spun the tires and so I wasn't too worried, but, man, all of a sudden he shot forward. I was like, oh, man, I'm in trouble here.

"And I thought I might be able to get to his quarter panel off of 2, but it was just too late over there and he was making a run up towards the wall, and so I got in behind him and tried to make a run at him. But came up short."

Gordon had a chance to win Saturday night's race based on a two tire pit stop call that brought him to the front of the field, a decision by crew chief Steve Letarte that Gordon knew was difficult but the right one.

"You know, it was tough in my opinion, sitting in the car, going down the back straightaway, before we were coming to pit road or whether we were going to come to pit road, I would not have wanted to make that call," he said. "Because I knew my tires were really worn out. And if anybody came in and got tires we're going to get stomped. With the double file restart, it changes things.

"When he called two tires, I thought that sounded good to me. When we came out first I thought it sounded even better when I looked in my mirror and saw a lot of other guys on two tires. My car drove real good. So I felt like it was a great call."

Despite not having a win to show for the effort, Gordon is comfortable with his team and the aggressive approach demonstrated so far this year.

"I really like the kind of calls that Steve Letarte makes," Gordon said. "He's gutsy. He's not afraid to take chances. And they've paid off for us, I'd say, more times than not.

"And at Martinsville it was the right call, and I still feel like we should have won that race. I felt like it was the right call tonight. I just didn't get a good restart."

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