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Gordon finds himself way back in pack

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The kind of weekend Jeff Gordon has had so far at Atlanta Motor Speedway is not what he had in mind.

Gordon, who needs only to finish 18th or better in today's season-ending NAPA 500 to wrap up his second Winston Cup championship, put himself in a deep hole on Saturday.Gordon's problems began midway through practice when he suddenly began to slide sideways and slammed hard into the stopped car of Bobby Hamilton. The collision forced both drivers to switch to their backup cars. Gordon, who had been 10th fastest prior to the crash, managed only eight more practice laps.

On a day when the 48 top qualifiers surpassed the previous track record of 186.507 set last March by Robby Gordon, Jeff Gordon, whose crew scrambled to put his qualifying motor in the backup car, wound up deep in the pack at 190.673.

Gordon will be 37th in the 43-car field. Geoff Bodine earned his second pole of the season and the 37th of his career with an incredible 197.478 lap.