Gordon’s finish good enough for Chase spot

DOVER — For those fans thinking that Jeff Gordon might have one more magical moment on the Monster Mile, this probably wasn’t it.

Rather than add another win to his collection of five Sprint Cup victories at Dover International Speedway, Gordon finished only 12th in his last race here.

But that showing in Sunday’s AAA 400 also got the job done for Gordon, who is retiring as a driver after the season.

Gordon moved up three spots to sit a solid seventh in the Chase points standings. That, of course, moves him onto the next round.

“I’m really proud of this team and what they’ve accomplished,” said Gordon. “We’ve gone through a lot and it hasn’t been pretty. That’s kind of the way today was. We knew we needed to be in the top 10 or top 11, or maybe 12th, if we were lucky. We did that.

“Until the end, when that caution came out and people swapped-up their strategy … we just got ate up on that restart and were falling back and I didn’t know what was going to happen. So, it wasn’t easy. We’ll re-set and go see what we can do in the next three (races).”

Truex rallies back

Martin Truex, Jr. had an up-and-down kind of day.

He was supposed to start ninth but was bumped to the back of the field at the last minute after having to make some changes to his car.

But Truex battled all the way back to place 11th in Sunday’s race. That finish was good enough to move him up four spots to fifth in the points standings going into the next round.

“All-in-all we had good speed when we would get track position,” said Truex. “We would lose track position. And, being in long lines on the restarts, we couldn’t really go anywhere. It was really difficult to pass today. We had good speed out front — top-five speed — and then just never really could get back there once we got back in traffic.”

McMurray will take it

Jamie McMurray wasn’t happy to be eliminated from the Chase, of course.

He lost out on a tiebreaker with Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the final spot.

Still, McMurray couldn’t help be proud of his team’s fourth-place finish in Sunday’s race.

“We haven’t run this well, honestly,” he said. “We talked earlier today about that. So, I’m thrilled with our performance today. It’s frustrating that we weren’t able to make it to the next round, but it was a good day. We just needed one more point.”

Stewart on retirement

Earlier this week, Tony Stewart announced that he’d be retiring as a Sprint Cup driver after next season.

But on NBCSN’s pre-race show on Sunday, Stewart said he doesn’t think he’ll ever completely step away from driving.

“I think for real racers, racing is like food, you never get enough,” he said. “You don’t say you never have to eat any more. There is never a day you say, ‘Well that was my last meal.’ I think for real racers, racing is how they survive. You have to win races, you have to run well, you never can win enough.”

Pit stops

Aric Amirola took fifth in Sunday’s race, making him the non-Chase finisher in the race. He’s 18th in the points standings … Sunday’s victory was the 750th for Chevrolet in Sprint Cup racing. … Kyle Busch owns 14 top-10 finishes in 22 races at Dover. … Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has 12 top-10 finishes in 32 Dover races. … Matt DiBenedetto was the best-finishing rookie in 34th. … There were eight cautions for 43 laps.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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