Sep 10 2011

Gordon Wins #85, Becomes 3rd All Time

Finally, it seems Gordon is gelling with a crew chief, he and Alan Gustafson have put three wins together so far this year, but, more importantly, they broke the three way tie and have taken sole possession of third place in all time wins with 85. They could’ve easily won a couple more races this year and look to be strong in tonight’s race in Richmond. This is a great time to get on a streak of good runs as these last ten races are really the only ones that count nowadays, of course you have to get in those 12 spots to compete in the Chase, but that is a lot easier than winning the Chase.

The end of the race in Atlanta was certainly exciting, Gordon had led a bunch of laps already and was looking to close it out, when Jimmie Johnson showed up and tried to ruin his party. In the final laps Johnson had five or six good attempts at passing Gordon and said he was glad he grew up racing on dirt or he could’ve spun out on every attempt. Gordon was able to hold him off, winning by just .598ths of a second.

“Hell yeah! That’s what I’m talking about boys!” an elated Gordon yelled after crossing the finish line .598 second ahead of Johnson.

Gordon was strong early, leading 100 of the first 164 laps. And after two brief stops for rain — one that brought a halt to the action for nearly 25 minutes — he slowly worked his way back into the lead on Lap 276, passing Johnson, and then held his advantage through a final round of green-flag pit stops on Lap 284.

He had nearly a 2-second lead with 22 laps remaining in the 325-lap race, but Johnson closed the gap and the two battled furiously through the closing moments.

“That was fun. I was slipping, he was slipping,” Gordon said. “There were a couple of times I thought he had me.

“This team is on a roll.”

Just call them butter, and let’s hope they keep on rolling.

The top eight drivers are set for the Chase, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman, with Brad Keselowski clinching at least a wild card berth and is still eligible for a top ten spot, where his three victories will give him extra points to start the Chase. 12 more drivers have a chance to make it, some need to win and need help with other people having bad days, but, Earnhardt Jr and Tony Stewart have the best chance, as they just need to finish in the top 20 to clinch.

Here is how they finished:
1 24 Jeff Gordon
2 48 Jimmie Johnson
3 14 Tony Stewart
4 22 Kurt Busch
5 99 Carl Edwards
6 2 Brad Keselowski
7 29 Kevin Harvick
8 11 Denny Hamlin
9 17 Matt Kenseth
10 43 A.J. Allmendinger
11 83 Brian Vickers
12 16 Greg Biffle
13 31 Jeff Burton
14 56 Martin Truex Jr.
15 42 Juan Montoya
16 1 Jamie McMurray
17 5 Mark Martin
18 27 Paul Menard
19 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
20 39 Ryan Newman
21 9 Marcos Ambrose
22 51 Landon Cassill
23 18 Kyle Busch
24 20 Joey Logano
25 38 J.J. Yeley
26 32 Mike Bliss
27 36 Mike Skinner
28 13 Casey Mears
29 195 David Starr
30 71 Andy Lally
31 00 David Reutimann
32 46 Scott Speed
33 78 Regan Smith
34 4 Kasey Kahne
35 6 David Ragan
36 33 Clint Bowyer
37 34 David Gilliland
38 47 Bobby Labonte
39 7 Robby Gordon
40 87 Joe Nemechek
41 66 Michael McDowell
42 55 Travis Kvapil
43 60 Dave Blaney

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