California changes the face of 'The Chase'

Jeff Gordon's chase hopes look so promising just one week ago when he finally clawed his way into the top ten with a strong run at Bristol. What goes up must come down, however, and a 21rst place run at California Speedway put Gordon on the...

Jeff Gordon's chase hopes look so promising just one week ago when he finally clawed his way into the top ten with a strong run at Bristol. What goes up must come down, however, and a 21rst place run at California Speedway put Gordon on the outside of the bubble into 12th.

He now sits 30 points out of tenth heading into Richmond.

"We're definitely the ones that are behind," said Gordon. "We've got to attack really hard. I don't see how we can do anything more than what we're doing. We're already attacking as hard as we can and that hasn't been working.

"There's nothing more we can do than what we are doing now."

Ryan Newman joins Gordon as a spectator heading into Richmond. Newman finished 18th and dropped one point out of the top ten to 11th.

"That's okay," Newman commented. "We've got what we've got right now. We had a good test at Richmond; unfortunately the Sony Dodge Charger didn't run as well as we wanted it to. But, it was a good effort.

"We've got our heads just barely below water, but we've got time to pick it back up and get a breathe of fresh air."

Newman and Gordon's misfortune was Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray's providence.

Kenseth's win at Bristol last weekend and seventh place at California propelled him from 11th to ninth in series rankings.

"I didn't think we had a chance," Kenseth commented. "But we've run much better and you know the guys that have been around us in points have had some trouble and maybe haven't run as well the second half of the year and some things happen to them, too.

"I didn't really expect it. We're not in yet. We still have another week to go.

Jamie McMurray was also the benefactor of others hard luck. An eighth place result helped him climb from 12th to 10th in points.

"Until Richmond is over, I know throughout the race tonight it fluctuated huge," said McMurray of his chase hopes. "At one point I was 30th on the racetrack but we tested at Richmond. But everyone, at least all of the guys around eighth and 14th in points tested there. Last year I was in the deal with ten or 15 laps to go and broke a spring or something and I wasn't.

"I know it's a good story for the rest of the week but just go on and forget about it."

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Ryan Newman , Jamie McMurray