Jeff Gordon held off teammate Jimmie Johnson in the final 10 laps on Tuesday to win in the rain-delayed AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
[media-credit name=”CIA Stock Photo” align=”alignright” width=”204″][/media-credit]”We used it up there in the end and I was slipping and sliding. The track really changed a lot after that rain delay. Our car was real, real tight and we had to free it up. I tell you what, that was a lot of fun racing with him (Jimmie Johnson). I was slipping and he was slipping. The throttle control was very tough there at the end. There were a couple of moments where I really thought he got us. But what an incredible victory for this Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet.” Gordon said.
“Man, that is what racing is all about. That was a lot of fun. I am grateful that I got to grow up racing off-road trucks and buggies because I was dead sideways those last probably 10 or 15 laps there trying to get by him. Just great hard racing.” Johnson said.
This was Gordon’s third win of the season and 85th of his career, moving him into sole possession of third in the all-time win list behind David Pearson (105) and Richard Petty (200).
“I totally forgot about that. Eighty-five, wow! That is un-believable. With the kind of day we had, the kind of year we’re having, I feel rejuvenated.” Gordon said.
With this win, Gordon also became the Modern Era (1972-Present) wins leader, breaking a tie with Darrell Waltrip. NASCAR President Mike Helton presented Gordon with an “85” mosaic featuring images from each of the four-time champion’s victories and special commemorative “85” hats were worn by Gordon and his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team in Victory Lane.
Tony Stewart finished third, Kurt Busch fourth and Carl Edwards finished fifth.
Tony Stewart battled back for a third place finish and remains in 10th place in the series standings with only Richmond left before the chase begins.
“The points are big going into next week, that’s for sure. I’m proud of the effort everybody gave this week. It may come down to one point. Having the strong finish we had here, maybe that will be the difference in making it or not making it next week.” Stewart said.
Kurt Busch’s fourth place finish clinched a spot in the chase.
“A great day for Penske and the Shell/Pennzoil Dodge team today. It was a great run, a Chase-type effort.” Busch said. “A great run for our Shell/Pennzoil Dodge. It’s great to be locked into the Chase. Just all of our sponsors, AAA, Lennox, Snap-On, and Coca-Cola. A good, solid season. Now it’s go time. We’ve got Richmond as a buffer, but we’ve got 10 weeks ahead of us that are the most important 10 weeks of the season.”
Ryan Newman is also locked in and Brad Keselowski has at least wrapped up a wild card berth.
“We’re not proud of our performance today, but we’re proud of what we accomplished. We got the Soldiers’ car in the Chase, a credit to our Stewart-Haas Racing organization. The opportunity to make the Chase is what we’ve been striving for all year long. This accomplishment is for our Army Strong Soldiers who give this No. 39 team an immense amount of pride and inspiration.” Newman said.
Clint Bowyer saw his Chase hopes diminish when he got together with Juan Montoya on lap 241.
“I was tight up off the corner,” Bowyer said. “You can’t race around a jackass. You just can’t. He dive-bombs the restarts, and before you know it, he’s in the way up there. I’m just tired of it.” Bowyer said.
Dale Earnhardt finished 19th and is in ninth place, just two points ahead of Stewart heading into Richmond.
“It was not a good day.” Earnhardt said. “We lost a little bit of ground (in the Chase standings) and it’s a little bit tighter going into Richmond but we still feel pretty good. But it doesn’t matter if we can’t figure out how to make the car run. It don’t matter where we are.”
“I mean we are 26 ahead of Brad (Keselowski) I think. With all the start-and-parks and stuff it makes it a little bit easier on us but we should be able to go in there and make that happen.” Earnhardt added.
|Unofficial Race Results|
|AdvoCare 500, Atlanta Motor Speedway|
|14||8||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||31|
|19||29||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||25|
|30||42||71||Andy Lally *||Ford||14|