Jeff Gordon makes up serious ground

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Jeff Gordon's qualifying effort on Friday put him in a hole as the green flag dropped to start Saturday's Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

And with just two cautions in a race that was run almost exclusively under green flags, Gordon didn't exactly get many chances to gain positions on restarts. He just had a good car, worked his way through the field and found himself in the top-10 by the halfway point.

With a few more laps, Gordon might have caught Mark Martin for third place. But jumping 30 spots was a terrific effort for Gordon, who jumped four spots in the points standings as well, to No. 17. He's 42 points out of 10th.

Gordon said a couple of issues for him and his No. 24 team this season were self-induced and others were out of their control.

"We’ve been running so good," Gordon said. "It's nice to have things come together. I'm so proud of everybody. What a racecar we had. Got it up there with only two cautions. We've had this many times, but haven't been able to get it going, so it's something great we can build on. [We] can't wait to go to Kansas."

Gordon struggled at TMS in the first four races (1997-2000), never finishing better than 25th. And he's had some issues at times -- even finishing last in the April 2008 race. But he did win at Texas in April 2009 and has seven top-5 finishes now at TMS.