"When I saw the opening to get inside, I was taking it," Gordon said.
It couldn't have come at a better time. The skies opened and cars were ordered off the track. The race was called moments later with 98 of the 160 scheduled laps completed.
Lightning death. A lightning strike in the parking lot at the raceway killed one person and injured nine others, racetrack officials said.
It wasn't immediately clear if all 10 people were actually struck by lightning in the parking lot behind the grandstand, nor was it known whether one or multiple strikes occurred during the thunderstorm.
Two people were taken to hospitals in critical condition after the strike, racetrack officials said.
Track president Brandon Igdalsky said one of them later died at Pocono Medical Center, but he provided no further details.
"Unfortunately, a member of our raceway family here, a fan, has passed away," he said.
The race was called because of storms, and the track posted warnings on its Twitter page near the end of the race encouraging fans to "seek shelter as severe lightning and heavy winds are in our area."
Gordon said he could hear a huge crack as he walked down the pit road during the storm.
"You could tell it was very close," he said. "I mean, that's the thing that's going to take away from the victory, is the fact that somebody was affected by that."
"Certainly our thoughts are with them," Gordon said. "I hope everything is OK there."