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Jeff Gordon gets win No. 85 in Atlanta

NASCAR Sprint Cup
Tuesday, September 06, 2011

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A happy Jeff Gordon passes Waltrip and Allison with 85 wins

It may have taken two extra days to complete the AdvoCare 500, but for Jeff Gordon, it was worth the wait.

The four-time NASCAR Cup champion chased down teammate Jimmie Johnson in the waning stages of Tuesday’s rain-delayed Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, then held off a furious rally by Johnson to score his third win of the season and the 85th of his career.

"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.

Try as he might, Johnson could not find a way around Gordon
"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."

Gordon’s win moved him into sole possession of third place in the Sprint Cup Series’ all-time win list, trailing only Richard Petty (200 wins) and David Pearson (105). He had previously been tied with Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip.

"I’m so glad I grew up racing in the dirt," said Johnson, who ventured into stock cars after an off-road racing career. "I think I would have spun out four or five times there at the end.

"We started the race really bad ... (then) the car came to life. I just couldn’t get past (him)."
Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards completed the top five, with Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and AJ Allmendinger sixth through 10th.

Johnson’s runner-up finish left the five-time champion alone atop the points standings. He entered the race tied with Kyle Busch, who finished 23rd.

"I think everybody recognizes how strong they are," Gordon said of his teammate. "You can never count them out."

Johnson has six top-five finishes among his eight top 10s in the past 10 races. Gordon also has eight top 10s in that stretch, with four top fives.

"The last couple of weeks, we’ve been able to send a ... message to all our competitors of how strong this team is and how good our racecars are.

"I love the fact that at Bristol, I felt like we had a car that could win there and then we come to a big mile-and-half track and we do win."

Crew chief Alan Gustafson said the team’s program for 1.5-mile tracks had been an area of concern.
"This was one of the racetracks that we felt like, to be an elite team and contend for the championship, we’ll have to do well on these styles of racetracks," Gustafson said. "There were times when I felt like we were going to win the race and times that we were 10th and it looked like it was going to rain out."

Gordon, a winner at Phoenix and Pocono earlier this year, led seven times for 146 laps. He is now fifth in points.

While Gordon was celebrating another milestone victory, the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup picture became a bit clearer as Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Keselowski clinched spots. Nine drivers have qualified for the Chase. Three spots remain open going into Saturday night’s regular-season finale at Richmond.

Results

FIN

ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 5 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger 48/5 325 Running
2 17 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 43/1 325 Running
3 20 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1 41/0 325 Running
4 10 22 Kurt Busch Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 40/0 325 Running
5 7 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac "Friends of a Feather" 40/1 325 Running
6 14 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 39/1 325 Running
7 21 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Rheem 37/0 325 Running
8 13 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota Charter Comm. 37/1 325 Running
9 6 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Crown Royal 36/1 325 Running
10 11 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford Best Buy 34/0 325 Running
11 4 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 33/0 325 Running
12 15 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 32/0 325 Running
13 27 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 31/0 325 Running
14 8 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 31/1 325 Running
15 12 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 29/0 325 Running
16 25 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet McDonald's 28/0 325 Running
17 32 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet Carquest / GoDaddy.com 27/0 325 Running
18 22 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Quaker State / Menards 26/0 325 Running
19 29 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard Military Intelligence / Amp Energy 25/0 325 Running
20 9 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army Reserve 24/0 325 Running
21 18 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Kwikset 23/0 324 Running
22 37 51 Landon Cassill Chevrolet Phoenix Construction / Thank A Teacher Today-Security Benefit 0 324 Running
23 3 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Pedigree 22/1 324 Running
24 24 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 20/0 324 Running
25 31 38 J.J. Yeley Ford Vampt 20/1 324 Running
26 40 32 Mike Bliss Ford Heil Trailer International 0 324 Running
27 35 36 Mike Skinner Chevrolet Collective Soul / Golden Corral 0 323 Running
28 38 13 Casey Mears Toyota GEICO 16/0 321 Running
29 43 195 David Starr Ford AdvoCare 0 320 Running
30 42 71 Andy Lally * Ford Interstate Moving Services 15/1 319 Running
31 16 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 13/0 315 Running
32 30 46 Scott Speed Ford Property Masters 0 310 Handling
33 26 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row / Farm American 11/0 284 Running
34 1 4 Kasey Kahne Toyota Red Bull 11/1 269 Engine
35 19 6 David Ragan Ford UPS "We Love Logistics" 9/0 249 Engine
36 2 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Cheerios / Hamburger Helper 9/1 243 Accident
37 36 34 David Gilliland Ford A&W All American Food 7/0 174 Rear Gear
38 23 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Bush's Baked Beans 6/0 91 Accident
39 33 7 Robby Gordon Dodge Speed Energy 5/0 34 Rear Gear
40 34 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota ATBD 0 27 Ignition
41 28 66 Michael McDowell Toyota James Fund 3/0 23 Rear Gear
42 41 55 Travis Kvapil Ford Lazy Days RV 0 17 Electrical
43 39 60 Dave Blaney Toyota Big Red 1/0 2 Vibration
44 - 37 Tony Raines Ford Max Q Motorsports 0 0 No Value
45 - 30 David Stremme Chevrolet Inception Motorsports 0 0 No Value
46 - 135 Geoffrey Bodine Chevrolet Luke & Associates 0 0 No Value
47 - 150 T.J. Bell * Chevrolet Green Smoke 0 0 No Value

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