Gordon Earns First Win at Chicagoland Speedway JOLIET, Ill. (July 9, 2006) - Jeff Gordon earned the 75th victory of his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series career in dramatic fashion during Sunday's USG SHEETROCK 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Gordon made...
Gordon Earns First Win at Chicagoland Speedway
JOLIET, Ill. (July 9, 2006) - Jeff Gordon earned the 75th victory of his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series career in dramatic fashion during Sunday's USG SHEETROCK 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Gordon made contact with race leader Matt Kenseth with four laps remaining, spinning Kenseth to the infield grass. Gordon continued, but Kenseth couldn't recover.
Gordon then held back pole sitter Jeff Burton in a two-lap shootout to score his first victory at Chicagoland Speedway.
The win allowed Gordon, a four-time NASCAR champion, to pull within one victory of the late Dale Earnhardt, who sits sixth on NASCAR's all-time list. It was also a win he said he needed to make his move for a fifth NASCAR championship.
"I hate to win one like that. Sorry to Matt," Gordon said from Gatorade Victory Lane. "I know that's going to take away from (the victory), but I think we could have (passed) him either way."
Gordon said Kenseth tried to block him a couple of times in the final 30 laps. But Gordon considered it a racing accident.
"If I wanted to spin him, I would have spun him (earlier)," he said. "I wanted to race him."
Kenseth's troubles continued from there. After running out of fuel during the caution, he was bumped by NEXTEL Cup Series rookie David Stremme as they crossed the finish line. Kenseth slid hard into the outside wall, but he was not injured. He finished 21st; Stremme finished 22nd.
"That wasn't an accident," Kenseth said of Gordon's contact. "The last one was an accident; the first one wasn't. (Gordon) just ran over me."
Burton's second-place finish continued his recent run of success. He has nine top-10 finishes in the past 12 races, and vaulted from seventh to fourth in series points.
Kyle Busch finished third with Kevin Harvick fourth and Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won last year's USG SHEETROCK 400, in fifth.
Gordon's victory pushed him back into the top 10 in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup. Kenseth maintained the second position behind Jimmie Johnson, who finished sixth in Sunday's race.
Gordon's victory was also the first victory for Hendrick Motorsports at Chicagoland Speedway.