Surprisingly, Jeff Gordon didn't need any help getting to victory lane. The four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion took the checkered flag in is No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet amongst congratulations from and to his...
Surprisingly, Jeff Gordon didn't need any help getting to victory lane. The four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion took the checkered flag in is No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet amongst congratulations from and to his team.
Gordon, who had gone more than a year without a win and was zero-for-16 in his career at Texas Motor Speedway, finally snapped both streaks in the Samsung 500.
"How ironic is this," Gordon asked in victory lane. "We go on this streak and we end it here at Texas, a place that had eluded us for so long. This was an incredible team effort. This whole year has been amazing."
Gordon, who spun and finished last here one year ago, started on the outside of the front row and led a race-high 105 laps. He jumped ahead of Carl Edwards when he won the race off of pit road after a caution with 27 laps to go and held off teammate Jimmie Johnson in the closing laps to claim the checkered flag.
"What a great car," said Gordon, who scored his fourth straight top-five finish. "We've never had a car like this at Texas and we finally had one and put it into position (to win)."
Edwards worked his way past Gordon before the last of six cautions came out but Edwards had a slow pit stop and Gordon took advantage with a quick turn-around that put him out front for the final segment. It capped a great day for his entire team.
"We took off and were fast at the beginning and got the lead and some bonus points, but it was really loose and we started fading," Gordon said about the early stages of the race. "We made an adjustment but we went too far. I was probably complaining too much and we over-adjusted based on the way I was talking and we got tight. They got it right and the pit stops were amazing. This has just been an incredible year that we're having."
It was Gordon's first win since October, 2007 and finally ended the longest winless streak of his career at 47 races.
"It's so special to win here at Texas," said Gordon, who picked up his 82nd career win. "I'm just thrilled. What an amazing day."
Johnson started ninth but struggled with the handling of his car early in the race and dropped back to 18th. They came in for multiple stops during a caution at the mid-way point of the race to improve the handling of the car and he worked his way back to the front in the second half of the race.
"We worked hard on this race car," said Johnson, who trails Gordon in the championship standings by 162 points. "Our car was off and wasn't the best but we made it really good at the end. I'm very proud of this race team. Congratulations to Jeff Gordon - he worked hard for this one."
Greg Biffle started 14th and worked his way up to lead 93 laps. His team struggled on pit road late in the race but he rallied for a third place finish.
"It burns me up - this is the second time that we should have won the race," Biffle said. "We did really well at adjustments on the car today. I wish we had a chance to race them at the end."
Tony Stewart followed up a third place finish last week in Martinsville with a fourth-place finish today. He started seventh and led 16 laps.
"On old tires we were really fast," said Stewart who is looking to become the first owner-driver to win a Cup race in more than a decade. "When everyone got sliding around, that was when we were at our best. We just couldn't take off on the short runs. We did a good job today and will keep digging."
Matt Kenseth started third and led 55 laps before settling for a fifth place finish while pole-sitter David Reutimann led 40 laps but dropped back to an 11th place finish.
Fourteen drivers led the race including Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin and Kyle Busch -- who also led multiple laps. There was a season-high 28 lead changes.