Atlanta Motor Speedway: Jeff Gordon Fends Off Jimmie Johnson to Earn 85th Career Victory

September 6, 2011 No Comments

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Jeff Gordon prevailed as the highlight of a rain-filled, dreary weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Following a two day postponement due to inclement weather and several race-day delays, Gordon bested his Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson in a late race duel to earn his third win of the 2011 season.

Atlanta Motor Speedway, where it all started for Gordon in 1992, set the stage for another history feat. Gordon’s win on Tuesday was the 85th of his accomplished career, earning him sole possession of third place on the all-time wins list. Only Richard Petty (200 wins) and David Pearson (105) have more.

“85, wow, that is unbelievable,” said Gordon in victory lane. “I’m just blown away at the kind of day we had and the kind of year that we’re having. I just feel rejuvenated in such a big way. It’s because of this race team and the race cars I get to drive. 85 yeah!”

Gordon assumed the lead for one last time on lap 288 of 325 and didn’t think twice, stretching his lead over the field to nearly two seconds. Five-time (Johnson), who nearly found himself a lap down early in the race, posed the only challenge for four-time (Gordon).

With 10 to go, Johnson closed in on Gordon’s bumper but was unable to make the pass, trailing at the line by 0.598 seconds. Tony Stewart finished in third followed by Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards.

“Man, that is what racing is all about,” said Johnson. “That was a lot of fun. I am grateful that I got to grow up racing off-road trucks and buggies because I was dead sideways those last probably 10 or 15 laps there trying to get by him. Just great hard racing.

“I was slowly catching him, but getting by him was a different thing. He was really strong all day long so I have him a ton of credit and his team. Happy to see a Hendrick car in victory lane.”

Clint Bowyer, who desperately needed a solid finish at Atlanta, tangled with Juan Pablo Montoya on lap 243. Bowyer was clipped by Montoya as he slid up the track exiting turn 4, resulting in a hard slam into the outside wall.

Bowyer now heads into Richmond, where he must win if he wants to make the 2011 Chase.

Here are the drivers which are locked into the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup:
Jimmie Johnson
Kyle Busch
Carl Edwards
Matt Kenseth
Jeff Gordon
Kevin Harvick
Kurt Busch
Ryan Newman
Brad Keselowski (Wild Card Spot at least)

Complete results from Tuesday’s AdvoCare 500:
1. Jeff Gordon
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Tony Stewart
4. Kurt Busch
5. Carl Edwards
6. Brad Keselowski
7. Kevin Harvick
8. Denny Hamlin
9. Matt Kenseth
10. A.J. Allmendinger
11. Brian Vickers
12. Greg Biffle
13. Jeff Burton
14. Martin Truex Jr.
15. Juan Pablo Montoya
16. Jamie McMurray
17. Mark Martin
18. Paul Menard
19. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
20. Ryan Newman
21. Marcos Ambrose
22. Landon Cassill
23. Kyle Busch
24. Joey Logano
25. J.J. Yeley
26. Mike Bliss
27. Mike Skinner
28. Casey Mears
29. David Starr
30. Andy Lally
31. David Reutimann
32. Scott Speed
33. Regan Smith
34. Kasey Kahne
35. David Ragan
36. Clint Bowyer
37. David Gilliland
38. Bobby Labonte
39. Robby Gordon
40. Joe Nemechek
41. Michael McDowell
42. Travis Kvapil
43. Dave Blaney

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