Despite leading the standings, Jeff Gordon entered the 11th race of the season without a single win. That changed with an impressive fight, holding on against a charging Kevin Harvick in the final lap to claim his first win of the 2014 NASCAR season on the Kansas Speedway, pretty much making it definite he’ll be part of the chase while Danica Patrick, finishing 7th, had her best finish since moving to NASCAR.
Gordon took his 89th first place finish the hard way to make it a 19th consecutive season for him with at least one win in a race. It was his first win since October at Martinsville, and is now the ninth driver to win a race this season, as only Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick have been able to win twice so far.
Kasey Kahne, Logano and Dale Earnhardt Jr. completed the top 5, while Patrick came in 7th, making it another strong performance for her in her ongoing to struggle to prove her place in this competition, hoping to break the record of Sara Christian’s fifth-place finish in a 1949 race, the best for a female driver in NASCAR’s top series.
It wasn’t a smooth one for Gordon or for anyone else taking the track. The start of the race was delayed by 35 minutes and the lights went out on the backstretch, but the drivers decided they want to race, with the track bright enough to see well. Harvick started out very well, leading for the first 41 laps before falling into the middle of the pack and overall had a race-high 119 laps in the lead. Gordon grabbed the lead with eight to go, and didn’t give it up.
It was a special race for Patrick as well, getting her first top 10 finish since that day on Daytona in 2013 when she was placed eighth in the end. It was her best until now. Jamie McMurray and David Gilliland both had their cars erupt in flames although it happened on separate incidents.