Burton again denied at Darlington By Shawn A. Akers DARLINGTON, S.C. (Sept. 6, 1998) For Jeff Burton, it was like deja vu on Sunday. Like last year, he could only watch helplessly as a victory in the Pepsi Southern 500 was taken away from...
Burton again denied at Darlington By Shawn A. Akers
DARLINGTON, S.C. (Sept. 6, 1998) For Jeff Burton, it was like deja vu on Sunday. Like last year, he could only watch helplessly as a victory in the Pepsi Southern 500 was taken away from him, and Jeff Gordon was the burglar again. Burton dominated Sunday's race at Darlington Raceway, leading five times for an incredible 273 of the 367 laps. He didn't lead the lap that counted most, however, as Gordon earned his sixth NASCAR Winston Cup Series win in the last seven races, and his fourth consecutive triumph in the Labor Day weekend race at Darlington. Gordon outdueled Burton in a last-lap thriller to win last year's Southern 500, a victory that earned Gordon a place in history as he became only the second driver to win the now-extinct Winston Million. Gordon took the lead away from Burton on lap 341 Sunday, and Burton could never recover. "I felt like I had won the thing," Burton said. "It's just a long day.. We had a great race car. I've been pretty sick and just couldn't feel the car when I needed to. I could drive it good, but I couldn't feel it and couldn't tell them (his crew) what we needed to do. All I knew is it wasn't doing what it needed to and I just couldn't feel the little things like I normally can, and it hurt us. "It's more my fault than anybody's. I've been pretty sick and I just can't feel the car like I need to feel it. The 24 car did an awesome job of getting their car better and we made our car worse because I wasn't giving my guys the information they needed." The driver of the No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford first gained the lead on lap 12 and held on until lap 63, when he pitted. He also led laps 66 through 83, 91 through 147, 150 through 273, and 311 through 340. "Jeff (Burton) was fast on new tires," said Gordon, who earned his 10th victory of the season, and 39th career. "If he had a little bit of an advantage before we came in to pit under green, he had even a bigger advantage when we went out because he was able to stretch it out. He was smoking us. He got out there and ran away from us and it looked like he might have used up the tires because we were able to reel him back in. "If the cautions would have come out, that would have closed us up even more and not have given him as much an advantage. The last caution we had helped all of us get a second win because we were worn out." Burton was denied what would have been his second victory of the season. He remains in seventh in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series standings, 664 points behind the leader, Gordon, but just 44 points -- and gaining -- behind sixth-place Jeremy Mayfield.
Source: NASCAR Online