The four-time Cup champion slammed the guard rails on lap 15 of the 90-lap race, going off course while looking to pass Denny Hamlin. Gordon had pitted early after giving up several spots because of a car that was not handling well.
Gordon is a four-time winner at Watkins Glen. He entered the race in ninth place in the standings and momentum on his side. He has been content to pile up the points instead of risking a wreck going for a victory.
Out of the top 20 earlier in the season, he surged in the standings with his second-place showing at Pocono last weekend, finishing behind Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne.
CHILDRESS RACING: Richard Childress Racing has chosen Mark McArdle as its director of racing operations on a full-time basis, effective immediately.
McArdle leaves Furniture Row Racing after four years, first as director of competition and this year holding the title of executive director of competition. His duties this season have included operating on a shared basis between RCR and Furniture Row Racing, which has had a technical alliance with RCR since 2010.
McArdle will still work closely with Furniture Row Racing, but from the RCR facility and not traveling to FRR’s facilities in Colorado. He spent 20 years in open-wheel racing and won three Indianapolis 500 trophies before making the move to NASCAR in 1999.