HAMPTON, Ga. - Jeff Gordon has won at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This marks back-to-back wins for the four-time Winston Cup champion; he won last weekend at Martinsville. "I felt like we had a great race car," said Gordon. "And we certainly ...
HAMPTON, Ga. - Jeff Gordon has won at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This marks back-to-back wins for the four-time Winston Cup champion; he won last weekend at Martinsville.
"I felt like we had a great race car," said Gordon. "And we certainly did. That's what got us into victory lane, what an amazing run."
It is the 64th career victory for Gordon, and fourth at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"I knew it was going to be tough to hold off Tony (Stewart) and that 20 car, and I am kinda surprised that we did. But I learned a few things in that last run.that really helped me out.and I just tried to run that line and get through lapped traffic the best I could.
"This is going to do down as a great victory for me, but by far the most embarrassing burnout I've ever seen in my life."
Tony Stewart was catching Jeff Gordon inside the final ten laps, having come out second to Gordon on the series of final pit cycles. Stewart remained second when the tenth and final caution waved with three laps left to be completed.
Gordon's third win of the season was realized as that final caution was displayed for an incident between Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Ryan Newman. Newman wrecked after being hit from behind by the No. 8 Chevy, and NASCAR ended the race under the yellow flag.
Newman was not amused with the love-tap from Earnhardt, and displayed his displeasure on track before being escorted to the infield medical center by safety workers. He was not injured in the accident.
"It would be in my best interest and everyone else's best interest if I didn't say anything right now. Whatever I'd say would be wrong."
Earnhardt was sixth, while Newman finished 29th.
"That's a bad deal, cause he's a helluva driver and we had traded spots back and forth for probably 10 laps," said Earnhardt. "I had a really strong run off the corner, and he moved up toward me. I breathed the gas pedal but he got sideways and I hit him. I couldn't get off the throttle quick enough."
Defending Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart remained second. A late race pit road mishap, on lap 224, sent Stewart from fourth to 16h, where he had to earn his way back to the front. The air-gun blunder likely cost Stewart the win.
"That's pretty impressive coming back from 17th place to second without a caution," Stewart said. "I'm pretty happy.
"If we hadn't come out 17th on that pit stop, we'd have won."
Gordon's teammate Jimmie Johnson was third.
"That's all we had," said Johnson. "I was racing the 24 pretty hard.I used up my tires and then I had to fall in line and sit there in third."
Bill Elliott and Bobby Labonte round out the top five.
The race was delayed one day due to inclement weather in Atlanta Sunday, which forced the cancellation of the event. The event began Sunday at 12:33 pm, and the field made 39 laps before a heavy deluge soaked the track.
Kevin Harvick led at the time of the red flag for rain. The event picked up from that point Monday morning at 11:00 am.
Point leader Matt Kenseth finished 11th, extending his lead to 258 markers over the field. Earnhardt, Jr. climbs a spot to second place, while Kevin Harvick tumbles to third just four points shy of Earnhardt, 262 points out of first. Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon round out the top five in series standings.
"It ended up being a good day in the points," said Kenseth. "I guess, a little breathing room on second place, at least. So, it ended up being a good day, but we ran real bad. We just had some problems. We had something break and that hurt our performance a lot. And, just struggled with it all day. The big picture looks good, but wish we could've run better."