Jeff Gordon moved into a tie for third on NASCAR’s career victories list, winning for the 84th time when he took the checkered flag Sunday at Pocono Raceway. Gordon led most of the final 40 laps and won for the second time this season. His 84 wins tie him with Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip for most in NASCAR history. Richard Petty leads with 200 wins and David Pearson is second with 105. Gordon tied Bill Elliott with five wins on the 2 1/2 -mile triangle track.
Gordon started 3rd and fell out of the top-10 just once during the event. He ran in the top-5 for the balance of the second half of the race and pulled away from Kurt Busch in the closing stages. This win was a bit more special for Gordon, who turns 40 in August. His first order of business once he hopped out of the car was a kiss from his daughter, Ella.
Road ahead: The series heads to one of Jeff Gordon’s favorite tracks — the 2-mile Michigan Speedway. Although Gordon has just two victories in 36 career starts there, he has 23 top-10 finishes. In addition, he’s posted three top-5 finishes in the last 4 races at the track.
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Rewind: Finally — Jeff Gordon tied Cale Yarborough on NASCAR’s all-time wins list with his 83rd victory in the Subway 500k at Phoenix Raceway. Gordon dominated the event leading 138 of the 312 laps. Gordon started 20th and worked his way into the top-5 by lap 50. However, on lap 59 he was in the wrong place at the wrong time when Carl Edwards got into the grass on the backstretch and slid up the track. Gordon made contact with Edwards’ car and pancaked the retaining wall with the right side of the Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet. Gordon came to pit road to repair the damage and restarted in 34th place. Restarting in the rear proved advantageous when Brian Vickers wrecked and started a chain reaction crash on the backstretch. Gordon was able to stop on the track and avoided getting caught up in the 12-car melee. He stayed out under the caution and took the lead from Ryan Newman on lap 77. Gordon went back to the top spot on lap 124 before a caution for David Ragan’s wall contact. In the closing stages, Gordon flexed his muscle by passing Tony Stewart for 2nd with 20 laps to go, and Kyle Busch for the victory with 8 to go. It was Gordon’s second win at Phoenix and moved him within one victory of Darrell Waltrip’s career total.
Road ahead: The 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway is next on the schedule. Gordon dominated the race in 2010 only to see his victory hopes come unhinged in the final 25 laps following a two-tire pit stop. It’s early in the season, but it’s clear that Gordon and crew chief Alan Gustafson have jelled very quickly.
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Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon is known by many monikers, including “Wonderboy,” “The Kid,” and “The Rainbow Warrior.”
Known to drop the hammer when there’s cash on the line, Gordon earned the nickname as “The Money Man” by FOX Sports/Speed TV announcer Darrell Waltrip for the 37-year old’s five $1 million victories in his prolific career.
Once again in this year’s 25th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star Race at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the Vallejo, CA, native pressed hard for another rich payday after finishing in the top-five in the previous three segments of the event.
Winning the third segment, the driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet started in the “pole” position for the final 10 lap shootout, propelling his Hendrick entry into a comfortable lead.
However, Gordon’s lead was short-lived, when the caution flag flew due to teammate Jimmie Johnson’s spin which bunched up the field for another double-file restart.
With the caution flag laps not counting in the race, Gordon’s lead meant that the bulls-eye was on his No. 24 car-NASCAR’s version of a sitting duck.
Relinquishing the lead to a hard charging Kyle Busch, Gordon did not back off from the battle for the lead and win, pushing his DuPont Chevrolet back into contention for the $1 million payout.
Despite the reputation that Lowe’s Motor Speedway gets for being a spacious track with ample passing room, the front stretch did not have enough room for the top-three drivers.
Gordon found himself going three-wide on the inside line with Busch and Ryan Newman battling along side, with each driver refusing to give up any inch of real estate for that coveted lead spot.
If this situation was occurring in next Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, chances are that Gordon, Newman, or Busch would have backed off the throttle to give each driver some racing room to avoid what would result in sheet metal mayhem.
Well, this is the All-Star Race, where points don’t count and only the winner gets remembered after the contest. Usually.
Unfortunately for the case of Gordon, he will remember the 2009 edition of this race as the one that got away for he and his No. 24 team.
Refusing to give up his position on the track, Gordon found himself going for a wild spin across the front-stretch grass, sliding through that portion of the track until coming to a halting crash into the SAFER barrier just after the dog-leg before Turn One.
“It’s the All-Star race,” Gordon said per AP article by Jenna Fryer following the hard-fought battle for the race lead. “That’s just a bunch of guys racing really, really hard. I heard three-wide at the last second.”
While the result for this year’s race meant some cash and a battered DuPont machine that will most likely not see any track action in the immediate future, Gordon and company can be consoled by the fact that their performance tonight was reminiscent of his dominant days of the past.
When’s the last time you remember Gordon actually going for the win in the All-Star Race, much less at LMS?
In my preview article documenting the factors heading into this event, I made a comment on how the three-time event winner has not exactly contended for the lead or engaged in a spirited battle for the win in this race.
While Gordon’s gamble proved futile and costly, the performance that he delivered in front of the racefans was nothing short of magnificent.
Finishing among the top-five in the three segments, including his third segment win, Gordon looked like the champion of the past who pushed his cars to the limit.
With the Coca-Cola 600 next on the racing schedule for the Cup series, we may have not seen the best from the No. 24 team.
Defeated and out from the All-Star Race, won by satellite “teammate” Tony Stewart, look for the 600 to have a retro feel with the current points leader right there for the win next Sunday.
Not only was it a great win for Jeff at the Samsung 500 in Texas, it was also a great win by the pit crew for the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award. The article from RacingOne.com is below. Be sure to check our their site for some great Nascar articles.
It was a double victory for the No. 24 team Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway in Forth Worth. Along with driver Jeff Gordon winning the 500-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race, the No. 24 over-the-wall crew won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award.
Gordon’s crew also won the pit road competition the previous week in Martinsville, Va., becoming the season’s first multiple Tissot winner.
The No. 24 crew claimed the Tissot win in Texas due to Gordon’s DuPont/National Guard Chevrolet spending the least amount of time on pit road — 217.453 seconds. The crew’s effort this season has played a key role in Gordon’s position as the leader in the Sprint Cup driver standings.
“The No. 24 crew is a strong part of our organization, and they gave us the opportunity to win Sunday’s race,” said Steve Letarte, crew chief of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. “They were consistent from stop one until the final stop that gave us the lead off pit road, and they deserve the recognition and accolades that come along with this award.”
Gordon’s pit crew consists of: Clay Robinson (front-tire changer), Mike Houston (front tire carrier), Tim Ladyga (rear-tire changer), Jeff Knight (rear-tire carrier), Jeff Cook (jackman), Caleb Hurd (gasman), Jamie Frady (catch can) and Andy Kruep (eighth man). The pit crew coach is Greg Morin.
For winning the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award, the No. 24 team will receive $5,000. The team with the most pit road wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule will earn a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the driver and over-the-wall crew members.
Tissot has been the official watch and timekeeper of NASCAR since 2006. The company is also the official timekeeper for a number of other sports, including the MotoGP World Championship, the Ice Hockey World Championship and the Cycling World Championship.