Gordon holds off Johnson for Atlanta win|
Hampton, GA (Sports Network) - Jeff Gordon overcame a late-race vibration
issue and then held off a furious challenge from his Hendrick Motorsports
teammate, Jimmie Johnson, during the closing laps to win Tuesday's AdvoCare
500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway -- a race delayed two days due to Tropical Storm
Gordon, 40, claimed his 85th career victory in the Sprint Cup Series, which
put him in sole possession of third on the series' all-time race winners list.
Richard Petty holds the record in NASCAR's premier circuit with 200 wins,
followed by David Pearson with 105.
"Eighty-five, wow, that is unbelievable," Gordon said. "I'm just blown away
about the kind of day we had and the kind of year we're having. I'm feeling
With less than 50 laps remaining, Gordon told crew chief Alan Gustafson over
the team radio that he was experiencing a bad vibration, probably due to a
loose wheel. When Gordon made his final pit with 41 laps to go, his team made
adjustments to the car, which put him into the lead for good after a cycle of
stops under green concluded with 38 laps left.
Johnson chased down Gordon with 10 laps remaining and ran side-by-side with
him for the lead at one point, but Johnson's car got loose several times
during the last four laps.
"I am so glad I started racing on the dirt, because if I didn't grow up racing
around all of those deserts and all of those stadium tracks, I think I would
have spun out there at the end," Johnson said.
Gordon crossed the finish line 0.6 seconds ahead of Johnson for his third win
of the season.
"That was a lot of fun racing with him," said Gordon, who led a race-high 146
laps. "I was slipping, and he was slipping. It was very tough there at the
end. There were a couple of moments where I thought he got us. What an
incredible victory for this [team]."
Gordon also claimed his fifth win at Atlanta but his first here since October
2003. The four-time Sprint Cup champion made his first series start at this
track in November 1992.
Tony Stewart's third-place finish kept him in the coveted 10th spot in points
with only one race to go before the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship
begins. Stewart was coming off a disappointing performance at Bristol the last
weekend in August.
"We looked at today as a day that we gained some momentum back, so it's big
especially going into a week where anything can happen," Stewart said.
The top-10 drivers in points, as well as two wild-card holders, after next
Saturday night's race at Richmond will qualify for the playoffs, which start
September 18 at Chicagoland.
Kurt Busch finished fourth, followed by Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski.
Busch and Ryan Newman, who finished 20th, clinched a top-10 spot in the Chase.
Keselowski, with three wins so for the season, secured at least a wild card
spot. He is currently 11th in the rankings (23 points behind Stewart).
"Today was a huge confidence builder for us, because we took a bad day and
still got a good finish out of it," Keselowski said. "That's what you've got
to do for the Chase."
Keselowski was one of four drivers who had a shot at winning $1 million for
himself, his charity and one lucky fan in the "Sprint Summer Showdown" bonus
program. If Keselowski, Marcos Ambrose, Kyle Busch or Paul Menard would have
won the 500-mile race at Atlanta, that driver would've collected the cash
award. Ambrose, Busch and Menard all finished outside the top-10.
Denny Hamlin continues to hold the second wild card spot after finishing
eighth. Hamlin moved up one position to 12th in points.
Clint Bowyer's playoff hopes took a huge hit with a 36th-place finish. On lap
242, Bowyer made contact with the wall after Juan Pablo Montoya bumped into
"You just can't race around the [expletive]; you never can," a frustrated
Bowyer said about Montoya. "Anybody in this sport knows what you're up against
when the No.42 [Montoya] comes up. He dive bombs the starts and bullies his
way up in there. Before you know it, he's in the way and wrecking with
somebody. Unfortunately, I was the victim this week."
Montoya finished 15th.
Just three positions remain available in the Chase heading into Richmond.
09/06 17:49:47 ET