Robby Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. capture Gatorade 125's. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Robby Gordon pulled off winning performances in the Gatorade 125's on Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. In the first Gatorade...
Robby Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. capture Gatorade 125's.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Robby Gordon pulled off winning performances in the Gatorade 125's on Thursday at Daytona International Speedway.
In the first Gatorade 125, Gordon, driver of the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet, made his winning pass on Richard Childress Racing teammate and Daytona 500 pole winner Jeff Green on pit road thanks to a quick two-tire pit stop by his crew.
"We knew the pit stop would be everything," said Gordon, who led the remaining 17 laps of the 50-lap event. "I figured the only shot I had of getting by Jeff Green was by outbraking him going into the pits. The key was not to be speeding when I did it. The guys gave me a great pit stop. We got down the jacks and Jeff kind of got blocked in a little bit."
Rounding out the top five in the first Gatorade 125 were Green, Ricky Rudd, Sterling Marlin and Jeff Burton.
In the second Gatorade 125, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driving the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet, continued his string of success at Daytona during Speedweeks 2003 by following up last weekend's Budweiser Shootout victory with his fourth career triumph at Daytona.
Earnhardt Jr. had his familiar drafting partner and Dale Earnhardt Inc. teammate Michael Waltrip in tow as he led three times for 38 laps. Waltrip tried to get by Earnhardt Jr. in the closing laps but couldn't pull off the pass.
Earnhardt Jr. has been closing in on a victory in the Gatorade 125's as he finished second the last two years.
"It was exciting to win the 125," Earnhardt Jr. said. "It's just tough because we're doing so well. It's just tough because we're doing so well. I didn't expect come down here and do this well. This is really good."
Rounding out the top five in the second Gatorade 125 were Waltrip, Todd Bodine, Rusty Wallace and 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Tony Stewart.
In both of the Gatorade 125's, the racing was furious around the transfer position as drivers battled for starting positions in Sunday's Gatorade 125's.
Brett Bodine, David Green, Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Larry Foyt and 1990 Daytona 500 champion Derrike Cope were among the drivers who missed the field for the "Great American Race."
Drivers who were on the fringe of making the Daytona 500 and were able to secure starting spots through Thursday's Gatorade 125's included Casey Mears, Jack Sprague, Tony Raines, Ken Schrader and Kenny Wallace.
"We're in the race," said Schrader, driver of the No. 49 1-800 CALL ATT Dodge. "We knew we had to race in. Running 15th or better was the plan. Guess it worked out."
Next up: On Friday's schedule is Round 1 of the True Value IROC Series (11 a.m.) and the fourth annual Florida Dodge Dealers 250, the season opener to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
For more information or tickets for Speedweeks 2003 events, go online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.