Jeff Gordon tangles with Austin Dillon early at Watkins Glen

Jeff Gordon's 800th career NASCAR Premier Series start got off to a rocky start as he ran into the back of Austin Dillon in the Watkins Glen International inner loop in the opening five laps of the Cheez-It 355.

Dillon was running 17th when suddenly slowed down going into the inner loop, and when he did, Gordon's No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet ran into the back of him.

The contact seriously damaged the left-front of Gordon's car, and he quickly began to fall through the field. By Lap 10, Gordon was all the way back to 26th place in the 40-car field.

Gordon, who was the most career road-course victories of any NASCAR Premier Series victory, will have an uphill battle for the rest of the day.