Gordon claims 85th Cup win
Amanda Vincent is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
When the AdvoCare 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway finally got underway on Tuesday after rain washed out on-track activity Sunday, Jeff Gordon turned in a fairly dominating performance to take the win -- the 85th of his Cup career.
“I totally forgot about that (the win being his 85th),” Gordon said in victory lane.
The 85th victory gives Gordon sole possession of third on the all-time win list behind NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and David Pearson.
Before claiming the milestone win, though, Gordon had to fight off a hard-charging teammate, Jimmie Johnson.
“That was a lot of fun, racing with him,” Gordon said.
Johnson nearly went a lap down early as he raced outside the top-25, but the No. 48 team got his car handling better, enabling him to make it toward the front with about 100 laps to go and into the lead with about 80 to go.
Weather continued to play havoc throughout the race, bringing out the caution a few times and even stopping the racing action completely for almost 25 minutes with 115 laps to go.
Through several cycles of the race track getting damp and jet dryers making rounds, drivers came and went throughout the race. Cars that ran up front early, including the No. 17 of Matt Kenseth and the No. 18 of Kyle Busch, fell back through the field late, and cars that ran poorly early on, like Johnson’s No. 48, came to life to contend for top finishes in the end.
“We started the race really bad, but we made some adjustments on pit road and it came to us,” Johnson said.
One thing that was pretty constant, though, was Gordon’s No. 24 at or near the front. He led the most laps of the 325-lap event on his way to victory.
The race field began cycling through green flag pit stops wit 42 laps to go, making final stops of the race. Johnson was one of the first down pit road to start the cycle, and when that cycle was completed, the HMS teammates found themselves in the top-two spots, with Gordon leading the way and Johnson running second.
Gordon held on to the first position for the remainder of the race. He and Johnson pulled away in the closing laps to settle it for the win. Johnson was able to pull up beside Gordon to race him side-by-side a few times in the final 10 laps, but Gordon was able to hold off each of Johnson’s charges.
“He had one or two shots at me,” Gordon said.
Johnson finished second, and Tony Stewart was third. Kurt Busch finished fourth, and Carl Edwards rounded out the top-five.
“It was a great run for us, a Chase-like effort,” Busch said.