Gordon involved in practice crash at Vegas, goes to backup car

Las Vegas, NV ( - Jeff Gordon, the pole winner for the Kobalt Tools 400, will have to start Sunday's race from the rear of the field in a backup car after he was involved in practice crash on Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Gordon sustained heavy damage to the right front and right rear of his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet when he made contact with Danica Patrick in the closing minutes of the final Sprint Cup Series practice. Patrick spun out in front of him.

Gordon's team quickly unloaded his backup car from the hauler, but he was not able to make any practice laps in it. He is driving the same backup car that he used in last year's Chase for the Sprint Cup championship races at Chicagoland, Charlotte and Texas. He finished second at Chicagoland and Charlotte and had a top-five run going at Texas before he made contact with Brad Keselowski in the final laps, resulting in a 29th-place finish.

"Just when u think everything is starting to go your way 10 spins in front of u & ruins ur day & the @3MRacing @TeamChevy. Going to backup!," Gordon tweeted shortly after his crash with Patrick.

On Friday, Gordon won the pole at Las Vegas for the first time with a new track qualifying record lap at 194.679 mph. It was his second pole of the season and the 79th of his Sprint Cup career. He started first in the Feb. 22 season-opening Daytona 500.

Gordon is a four-time champion in NASCAR's premier series. This is his final season of competition.

David Ragan will also start Sunday's 400-mile race at Las Vegas from the rear of the field in a backup car after crashing in practice. Ragan, who is driving the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in place of the injured Kyle Busch, made contact with the wall in turn 2 with a couple of minutes left in practice. He qualified 13th.

Jimmie Johnson, the six-time series champion and a record four-time race winner at Las Vegas, posted the fastest laps in both of Saturday's practice sessions.