By Doug Halberstadt
It was nearly two years and 66 races ago since Jeff Gordon last won a race. That streak is now over. Thanks to a dominating performance at the Phoenix International Raceway, Gordon is back in victory lane.
Gordon started in the 20th spot, but managed to pilot his No. 24 Chevrolet to the front of the pack and ended up leading the most laps of anyone, 138 of the 312.
“Oh, man, are you kidding me?” Gordon asked in victory lane. “Pinch me, man, pinch me! To do it that way and to see the fans’ reaction…we beat Kyle Busch! We’re the only ones to beat Kyle Busch this weekend, and he’s so tough to beat.”
Gordon was trailing Busch with about 14 laps remaining in the race. After relentless pursuit, he was finally able to track down Busch and take over the top spot with only eight laps to go. Gordon never looked back.
“What an awesome, awesome feeling it is when you got the car right like that, and they give you 20 to go, and it’s your job to go get it done!” Gordon said. “We caught him, and he got loose when I got underneath him. It feels so amazing. It’s been a long time, and I’m gonna savor this one so much. We hope we can give you more shows like that this year.”
They’ll get their next opportunity to put on another fantastic show this Sunday, March 6, when the series moves to the Busch brothers’ hometown for the Kobalt Tools 400 from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Last year, NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson earned his first victory of the season at Las Vegas.
From the March 2-8, 2011, issue