By admin | September 6, 2011
By Richard Allen
It’s doubtful anyone in the NASCAR garage area or grandstands has ever seriously doubted the skills of Jeff Gordon. But just in case they did, the four time champion showed on Tuesday in Atlanta that he still has plenty of gas in his tank.
In one of the best racing duels seen in Sprint Cup racing in quite some time, Gordon held off Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson for the 85th win of his illustrious career. The victory moved Gordon into sole possession of third place on NASCAR’s all time wins list behind Richard Petty and David Pearson.
And how appropriate that Gordon would defeat Johnson. Gordon, a four-time Sprint Cup champion, has seemingly emerged as the greatest threat to end the unprecedented run of titles by Johnson. Perhaps the showdown that took place in the final laps of the AdvoCare 500 served as a preview of the coming Chase for the Championship. If so, Gordon showed he still very much has the burning desire to fight for and win trophies. This might be the year in which he adds his fifth and matching trophy to that of Johnson.
Since being paired with crew chief Alan Gustafson, Gordon has been in contention for more race wins than in some time. His three wins in 2011 mark the first time in four years that this driver has won multiple races in a season.
Currently, Gordon ranks 5th in the Sprint Cup standings. But more importantly, when the points are reset after this weekend’s race in Richmond, Gordon will have at least nine bonus markers to add to his total. Only Kyle Busch has more wins going into the final ‘regular season’ race. And perhaps more noteworthy, despite the fact that he leads the standings right now, Johnson only has one win so far in the season and is line for only three bonus points.
In case there was any doubt, Jeff Gordon is a serious threat to end the long running streak of Jimmie Johnson. On Tuesday in Atlanta he sent a strong message to his teammate and everyone else in the NASCAR garage and grandstands.
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