INDIANAPOLIS — Jeff Gordon will have to catch Dale Earnhardt another day.
Gordon had hoped to win his fifth Allstate 400 at the Brickyard to tie the late Earnhardt's mark of 76 career victories, sixth-highest among all drivers in NASCAR's top series.
But Gordon's effort quickly turned sour Sunday when a front sway bar failed on his Chevrolet on the seventh lap of the 160-lap race.
The Vallejo, Calif., native promptly went two laps down. He fought back to finish on the lead lap, but he ended up 16th behind winner and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson.
"I really applaud the team for the comeback," Gordon said. "It's frustrating, to have a car as good as ours and not be able to race up front for the lead or the top positions. We just got so far behind at the beginning."
The hard-luck award went to Kasey Kahne. A four-time winner this year, Kahne came to Indy seventh in points and was running a fairly strong race until the last lap. That's when a multi-car wreck sent his Dodge hard into the wall.
That left the Evernham Motorsports driver with a 36th-place finish, and dropped him to 11th in points.
That means Kahne has only five races left to get back into the Chase for the Nextel Cup, in which the top 10 in points compete for the championship over the final 10 races of the year.
"We've been trying hard, but we haven't had the best of breaks in probably the last two months," Kahne said. But he added: "We still have plenty of time to get in [the Chase]."
Boris Said, a Carlsbad road-racing specialist who is running a limited Cup schedule this year, had a short day.
After starting last in the 43-car field, Said was hit from behind by Reed Sorenson on the 20th lap, sending Said's SoBe/No Fear Racing Ford into the Turn 3 wall and out of the race.
"It was just a racing deal," he said. "I'm not used to going out this early in a race, so I feel bad."
Said finished ninth in the Cup race at Infineon Raceway, a road course in Sonoma, in late June and hopes to race at the series' other road circuit, Watkins Glen in New York, next weekend.
"I'm just glad that in five days I'll be qualifying at Watkins Glen and I don't have to worry about that stuff here," he said.