HAMPTON, Ga. -- Jeff Gordon wrapped up his third NASCAR Winston Cup championship with a win last weekend at North Carolina Motor Speedway and one race remaining on the 1998 schedule this Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Gordon's season was...
HAMPTON, Ga. -- Jeff Gordon wrapped up his third NASCAR Winston Cup championship with a win last weekend at North Carolina Motor Speedway and one race remaining on the 1998 schedule this Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Gordon's season was nothing short of exceptional. Twelve wins, seven poles,18 top-two, 21 top-three, 25 top-five and 27 top-10 finishes and a NASCAR Winston Cup championship after 32 of 33 races are just the beginning of what he and his DuPont Automotive Finishes team of Rainbow Warriors have accomplished this year.
Currently, Gordon has obtained 87 per cent of all possible points having earned 5,143 of 5,920 available to one driver. He has an average finish of 5.8, three positions higher than second-place Mark Martin.
Highlights also include a four-in-a-row win streak, tying a modern-era record. His 17 consecutive top-five finishes established a modern-era record, and is second only to David Pearson's all-time record of 18 top-fives 30 years ago.
Gordon has swept the road courses and the races at Rockingham this year. His midseason win at Sears Point was his first win on that road course and where he took the points lead for the second time and kept it. He also achieved his first win at Michigan Speedway.
A victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year made Gordon the first two-time winner of the Brickyard 400. He also continued streaks at Bristol and Darlington winning his fourth-straight spring race and fourth-straight Pepsi Southern 500, respectively. The wins at Indy and Darlington made Gordon the only two-time winner of the Winston No Bull 5" million-dollar bonus.
Winning the pole for Charlotte's 600-mile event on Memorial Day weekend was No. 5 in as many years. He won the fall race at New Hampshire for the second-consecutive year, making him the sole winner of that event. Gordon has won a race at Pocono in each of the last three seasons.
Also, in each of the last three seasons Gordon has scored at least 10 victories. Since 1995 he has won no less than seven in a season.
Gordon and his DuPont team ran their first race in Atlanta six years ago which marked the first of 188 consecutive starts. Of those, they have won 41, or 21.8 per cent -- the best all-time winning percentage.
Now, Gordon has won his third championship in four years.
"This is the greatest season that this team could ever have," said Gordon.
"It's definitely our greatest season."
"We ran strong and consistent all season. Most of the time we were in contention to win. I don't know how you improve on that."
"But the season isn't over yet. Even though we've clinched the championship, we still want to have a winning combination at Atlanta. I don't know if we can win, but leaving here with a good solid finish would just cap off the entire season."
"Winning the championship by being strong at the end of the season was what we were really after this year. Winning at Rockingham was like summing up this unbelievable season in one day and we'd like to take it one step further with a good finish in Atlanta as well."