Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Jeff Gordon is solidly among the legends of NASCAR with win No. 85

Credit:  Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR
Petty, Pearson and now solidly amongst the NASCAR greats is Jeff Gordon. Standing toe-to-toe and win-to-win with the legends, Gordon broke the tie of 84 wins with Bobby Allison after winning the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Next up for Gordon, 20 more wins to pass Pearson and do not put that past him, with three wins alone this season it would be within reach.

Pearson spoke on Gordon’s milestone and said, “I have always liked him as a driver. He is smart, takes care of his equipment and when it is time to go, he gets right up there with them. Reminds me some of the way I drove … He has been the ‘head honcho’ for a long time in NASCAR. He was good out of the box and has been very good ever since.”

Adding to his records, Gordon also became the Modern Era win leader breaking that tie with good ole Darrell Waltrip himself. The modern era (1972 – present) refers to the time since NASCAR has shortened the schedule to the current number of races versus the older schedules of as many as 60 races.

While in Victory Lane, NASCAR President Mike Helton presented Gordon with a mosaic featuring images from all his career wins - including his four championship victories. The No. 24 team, along with Gordon, sported commemorative hats in Victory Lane as well.

With his career beginning in the final race of 1992, Jeff Gordon’s list of accomplishments are vast and sure to be seen in the NASCAR Hall of Fame one day. His most notable successes include: NASCAR championships (4), Daytona 500 wins (3), Brickyard 400 victories (4), the most road-course wins of all-time (9) and the most restrictor plate wins of all-time (12).

At just 40 years young, a proud husband to wife Ingrid and father to Ella and Leo, Gordon is not hanging up his fire suit anytime soon.


Here is a timeline of Gordon’s notable victories on the way to number 85:

1 – On May 29, 1994 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Gordon won his first race. It was in one of NASCAR’s biggest events – the Coca-Cola 600.
2 – Gordon won the inaugural NASCAR race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Aug. 6, 1994. He would go on to win three other IMS races (1998, 2001 and 2004).
8 – Won another “crown jewel” race, the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, on Sept. 3, 1995.
19 – On Sept. 29, 1996, won his only race at North Wilkesboro Speedway, the final race at the North Carolina short track.
20 – At this time, became the youngest winner in Daytona 500 history at 25 years, six months and 12 days on Feb. 16, 1997. His record was later broken in 2011 by Trevor Bayne (20 years, one day). Gordon also won the Daytona 500 (1999 and 2005).
28 – On Aug. 31, 1997, won his second Southern 500, capturing a $1 million bonus in what was known as "The Winston Million". "The Winston Million" was given to any driver to win three of the following four races: the Daytona 500, the Coca-Cola 600, the Southern 500 and the inaugural Talladega race.
42 – In the season finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Nov. 8, 1998, won his 13th race of the season, tying a modern era record first set by Richard Petty in 1975.
74 – On June 25, 2006, won at Infineon Raceway, his record ninth victory at a road course.
76 – With a win at Phoenix International Raceway on April 21, 2007, Gordon tied Dale Earnhardt for sixth on the all-time wins list. Gordon memorably took a victory lap with a massive No. 3 flag waving out his driver-side window - a tribute to his long-time rival.
80 – On Oct. 7, 2007 at Talladega Superspeedway, Gordon captured his record 12th restrictor-plate victory.
85 – In a race delayed two days due to inclement weather, Gordon captures an historic win (85th) on Sept. 6, 2011 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

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