Gordon returns to scene of worst finish in 1998 RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 10, 1998) Winning races almost every week, and establishing several modern-day NASCAR records along the way, Jeff Gordon and the NASCAR Winston Cup DuPont/Hendrick Motorsports...
Gordon returns to scene of worst finish in 1998
RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 10, 1998) Winning races almost every week, and establishing several modern-day NASCAR records along the way, Jeff Gordon and the NASCAR Winston Cup DuPont/Hendrick Motorsports Team are primed to continue their fantastic season at Richmond International Raceway Saturday night in the Exide NASCAR Select Batteries 400 race. And here's the tough part for the competition this week -- Gordon and the Rainbow Warriors have an extra special desire to conquer the Richmond track. In the June race at RIR, Gordon started from the pole position and seemed headed for victory, but tangled with contender Rusty Wallace in the late stages of the event and the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet spun and crashed into the outside retaining wall.
Unable to continue in the race, Gordon finished 37th, the worst finish in this already stellar season for the DuPont team.
In the 11 races since then, Gordon has been on a tear, posting top-five finishes in each, with his worst finish in that span being fifth place at Bristol. He has won seven of the last nine races and six of the last seven events.
His record-breaking fourth-straight victory in the Pepsi Southern 500 at Darlington last week gave Gordon 10 wins on the season and increased his career-victory total to 39 races. In his six years on the Winston Cup circuit -- all with Hendrick Motorsports -- Gordon has competed in 180 races, so he has compiled an amazing winning ratio of 36%.
With that 10th win, Gordon established another NASCAR record by becoming the first driver to post 10 victories in three consecutive seasons.
Another look at the DuPont team's success: in the last 15 races, since the California 500 in early May, Gordon has earned seven pole positions and started in the top-five 14 times.
Not only has Gordon been winning on a phenomenal pace this year, but his victories have included wins in some of the premier events. Among his 10 wins this year, he captured the Coca- Cola 600 at Charlotte, the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis where he established an all-time motorsports record for money-winnings in a single event ($1,637,625), and the Pepsi Southern 500 at Darlington, where he earned his second Winston No Bull 5 bonus of $1,000,000 (the first came at Indy).
Already this season, Gordon's winnings from race purses and the two No Bull 5 bonuses have amounted to a whopping $5,267,062.
With nine races remaining, he and the Rainbow Warriors have the opportunity to match or beat Richard Petty's modern record of 13 victories in one season, and not many observers would be surprised if that happens.
This year Gordon is driving for his second straight Winston Cup Championship, his third overall and the fourth straight for Hendrick Motorsports. With a 199-point lead over Mark Martin and a 248-point bulge over third-place Dale Jarrett in the current standings, it may be difficult for anyone to catch him, but he and the #24 team have no thoughts of letting up.
As some observers have stated, it looks as though before it's all over Gordon and the No. 24 DuPont/Hendrick Motorsports Team may be headed for the one of the best, if not the greatest, NASCAR Winston Cup season ever in modern history. "Modern NASCAR history" dates from 1972.
Hendrick Motorsports is also providing the racing equipment and personnel for The Iceman, Terry Labonte, who wants to make it two in a row at Richmond this season. His only win came this year in the Pontiac 400 race at RIR. He also continues his fantastic record of consecutive starts on the circuit. At Richmond, while also preparing to contend for victory on a short track -- one of his strengths -- Labonte, driver of the No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet, will be on the starting grid for the 594th-straight time, a record of starts that goes all the way back to 1979.
Also shooting for victory at Richmond in the #50 Budweiser Chevrolet is Wally Dallenbach, who marks his eighth race driving for Hendrick Motorsports in 1998. He has produced two top-10s in those races, and aims for even better results as he and the Tony Furr-led team combine their talents to become more competitive.
Also at Richmond this week, Hendrick Motorsports driver Jack Sprague will be looking to capture his fourth win of the 1998 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season. The Truck Series runs the Virginia is for Lovers 200 Thursday evening. Sprague looks to regain the points lead from Ron Hornaday, who has a slim 26-point (2,871-2,845) margin over the driver of the No. 24 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet Truck.
Ricky Hendrick, 18 year-old son of HMS founder Rick Hendrick, placed fifth in the Late Model Stock Car division race at Concord Motorsport Park this past Saturday night. With the season slowly drawing to a close, the rookie driver has posted two wins and two pole positions in the 19 races run so far and is currently ranked sixth in the point standings.
Source: NASCAR Online