Event: NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Aaron's 499 (Race No. 9 of 36) Talladega, Ala. Weather: Sunny and hot Winner: Jeff Gordon, driver of the ...
Event: NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Aaron's 499 (Race No. 9 of 36)
Weather: Sunny and hot
Winner: Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Chevrolet from Hendrick Motorsports
Top-five finishers: Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Jamie McMurray and Kevin Harvick
Race recap: On the late, seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt's birthday, Jeff Gordon passed the all-time legend with his 77th career victory, winning at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday. Gordon had just tied his late competitor with his 76th victory at Phoenix International Raceway last weekend.
Gordon had the race's best car, leading 10 different times for a total of 71 laps. It was a typical NASCAR restrictor plate race, featuring 42 lead changes among 20 drivers. The race also was slowed by eight caution flags for 28 laps. Included in that total were two late cautions -- one that put the race into extra laps and set up a green-white-checkered flag finish and the final one that came out on the ensuing restart that caused the race to end under the yellow flag.
With his victory, Gordon extended his championship lead to 203 points over second-place Jeff Burton after nine of 36 races. The series' next event will take place at Richmond International Raceway next Saturday night.
Goodyear quote -- Phil Holmer, markerting manager, stock car racing: "This was the final Nextel Cup race for this particular tire combination, which performed superbly at the last two races at Talladega since it was repaved last summer. We will be looking for a new combination to replicate these great results when we return to NASCAR's longest oval with the new 'Car of Tomorrow' this fall."
Companion event: Bobby Labonte pushed Tony Stewart to the lead on lap 119, then passed him off the final turn of lap 120 to win the NASCAR Busch Series race at Talladega on Saturday. Labonte edged his Kevin Harvick Incorporated teammate by 0.052 seconds at the finish. Series points leader Carl Edwards finished 10th.