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Gordon Salvages Top-10 Finish in All-Star Challenge

CONCORD, N.C. (May 22, 2004) – Jeff Gordon finished sixth on Saturday in the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway after the No. 24 DuPont team rushed to repair its car following an multi-car accident on Lap 11.

“I’m tickled with the sixth-place finish,” said Gordon, who started 17th with his “throwback” rainbow paint scheme.  “I thought we were done when I got hit from behind (in the accident).

“I came on the radio and said, ‘Guys, we’re done.’  When it’s the all-star race, you think you’re not going to be able to fix it, but they had a long (red-flag) run so we were able to keep working on it.”

Rookie Brian Vickers managed to miss the incident, which claimed teammates Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, to finish 12th in his No. 25 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet.

“I kid you not, we were probably the second or third car behind every single wreck,” Vickers said.  “Ricky (Hendrick), my spotter, did a good job.  He was heads-up all night and we made it through all of them without a scratch.”

Driving the No. 5 Kellogg’s Monte Carlo, Terry Labonte came in 14th after starting 13th Saturday night.  It was his 19th start in the all-star event.

Johnson wasn’t quite as lucky as Gordon, his car owner and teammate.

The damage suffered in the Lap 10 accident eventually sent his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevy to the garage, where he finished the night in 17th place.

“The car was pretty beat up,” Johnson said.  “We had contact with that crash situation and the No. 97.  The front-end (of the car) was just bent.

“We tried to make it work.  These guys never quit.  They tried to do everything they could to straighten it out.”

The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will be back at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for Sunday’s 600-mile marathon—the longest race on the schedule.  The event will be broadcast live by FOX (5 p.m. ET) and PRN Radio (4:45 p.m. ET).

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