Pole sitter Jeff Gordon earned the victory at the 1.99-mile road course in California's wine country, to score his third win of the season, and 67th of his career. Gordon led an event record 92 of 110 laps, on his way to his eighth career road ...
Pole sitter Jeff Gordon earned the victory at the 1.99-mile road course in California's wine country, to score his third win of the season, and 67th of his career. Gordon led an event record 92 of 110 laps, on his way to his eighth career road course win.
"I was so nervous all weekend that we were going to mess it up somehow," Gordon said. "It wasn't easy. We had to fight for it. I know it looked easy, but it wasn't a given.
"I never could give up; I had to run hard every lap. In the end we were about out of gas, and so was I."
Gordon drove a masterful race, holding off the hard-charging Ganassi Dodge's of Jamie McMurray and Scott Pruett despite having lost his in-car cooling system. He managed to overcome the excruciating heat and stay focused to grab his third victory from the pole at Infineon, and fourth of his career.
"I am beat, my cool system didn't work," said an exhausted Gordon. "I drove my heart out. I wanted this win so bad. These last three or four weeks haven't been so great, so this is sweet."
Jamie McMurray garnered his best career finish on a road course, with second.
"We tested here and knew we had a good car," said McMurray. "Our pit crew made the difference by getting us out in front of Scott (Pruett). They really worked on our brake package, and my car just handled good. Great day for the Havoline Dodge."
Road course expert, Scott Pruett, hired by Ganassi racing solely to run this event, was third. It marks Pruett's best NEXTEL Cup series finish in four starts at Infineon.
"It's tough," said Pruett. "I am just a part time guy coming in. It was fun, I got a great opportunity and I am loving every minute of it."
Michael Waltrip and Jimmie Johnson complete the top five.
"It does feel like a victory for me," said Johnson. "I can't believe I was able to work my way through traffic twice. We did it once and thought we'd catch everybody sleeping but nobody pitted so that didn't work out for us. So, I had to drive back through.
I finished fifth today without any pit strategy working in our favor. Having to pass everybody on our own, I'm pretty proud of what we did today."
The fifth place finish propels Johnson even further into the lead in NEXTEL Cup series points. He leads Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by 27 points. Matt Kenseth (-232), Jeff Gordon (-252) and Tony Stewart (-307) complete the top five.
There were nine lead changes among seven drivers, and six cautions for 13 laps.