BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 28, 2004) – Jeff Gordon got his fourth top-10 finish of the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season on Sunday, driving his No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet to a ninth-place showing at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Gordon, who started second on Sunday, is now 12th in the driver standings after six of 36 points-paying events. The four-time Cup Series champion is just 177 markers back of leader Matt Kenseth.
Driving the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevy, Jimmie Johnson qualified 11th and came in 16th at Bristol after running in the top 10 for much of the afternoon.
Johnson remains sixth in points, with one victory and two additional top-five finishes. He is a mere 113 markers out of first place.
Just two spots behind his teammate in the running order, Terry Labonte started 33rd and finished 18th in the No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevy, extending his non-DNF (did not finish) streak to 48 consecutive races.
The two-time champion remains 21st in the NEXTEL Cup standings.
Rookie Brian Vickers started 22nd and posted a 35th-place result on Sunday thanks to a problem with the drive train of the No. 25 GMAC Financial Services Chevy.
The team was forced to the garage, where they repaired the drive shaft, rear-end gear and transmission before returning to the race 106 laps behind the leaders.
“It was a tough day,” Vickers said. “Something happened to the drive shaft—it just broke. We don’t really know why right now, but we’ll find out.
“It’s not normal. There’s nothing that we could have done to have caused it. It just broke. We don’t really know why.”
Vickers held steady at 28th in points.
The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will next visit the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, April 4. The 334-lap event will be broadcast live by FOX (1 p.m. ET) and PRN Radio (12:15 p.m. ET).