CHICAGO — The results were the same, but Jeff Gordon couldn’t have gone through a bigger swing of emotions from his last lap at Atlanta Motor Speedway to his last lap in the next NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Richmond International Raceway.
He ran the gamut from smoldering disappointment to unbridled euphoria.
The four-time Cup champion was glum about his chances of making the 12-driver field for the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship after he came up short on his attempt to pass Denny Hamlin in the last corner of the last lap and finished as runner-up in Atlanta.
“Jeff was sort of beating himself up at the end in Atlanta because he felt he should’ve moved Denny,’’ said car owner Rick Hendrick. “He had such a run, he could have gone under him and moved him up, but he tried to do it the hard way around the top, and he was upset with himself about that.’’
Although he was unable to better his result in Richmond, where he finished second to Clint Bowyer, Gordon’s disposition was greatly improved after he overcame a lengthy rain delay, an ill-handling car, and the longest of odds to climb one spot to 12th in the driver standings in the final race of the regular season.
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