Gordon writes history in Long Pond

Photo By Tammy Benscoter

By Tammyrae Benscoter

Jeff Gordon returned to victory lane at Pocono International Raceway in Sunday’s 30th annual 5-Hour Energy 500. Gordon’s 84th career win elevates his place in the record books. He is now tied with legends Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison on the all-time win list.

“Today to see it all come together, to have a fast racecar, great pit stops, calling the race right, good restarts, those types of things, I was so caught up in that, I was so excited, plus I have my family here to celebrate it with, I didn’t even think about 84 till they reminded me, Gordon said. “When I went to do the SPEED Channel Victory Lane Show, I was like, Oh, yeah, man, that’s unbelievable. I really can’t even express in words what it means to tie Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison at 84 wins because I just never thought it would ever happen for me, or really when I got in this sport for anybody to win that many races is amazing.
 Photo By Gary Buchanan
Jeff Gordon returned to victory lane at Pocono International Raceway in Sunday’s 30th annual 5-Hour Energy 500. Gordon’s 84th career win elevates his place in the record books. He is now tied with legends Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison on the all-time win list.

“Today to see it all come together, to have a fast racecar, great pit stops, calling the race right, good restarts, those types of things, I was so caught up in that, I was so excited, plus I have my family here to celebrate it with, I didn’t even think about 84 till they reminded me, Gordon said. “When I went to do the SPEED Channel Victory Lane Show, I was like, Oh, yeah, man, that’s unbelievable. I really can’t even express in words what it means to tie Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison at 84 wins because I just never thought it would ever happen for me, or really when I got in this sport for anybody to win that many races is amazing.

Gordon, a four-time champion in his own right, has started 631 NASCAR sanctioned point races. This is his fifth win at the Pennsylvania speedway. With Sunday’s win Gordon tied Bill Elliott with the most wins at this facility.  “It’s really a great accomplishment for our team,” said Alan Gustafson Crew Chief on the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. “Winning at Pocono, it’s a really tough track. To win, there’s a lot of difficult challenges you have to face.”

Adding to this weekend’s challenges was a new inverted qualifying procedure and the re-introduction of shifting process. As a veteran with prior experience and an advocate for shifting out of the turns, Gordon took the lead from Juan Pablo Montoya late in the race.

“I’ll be honest. This is a tough place to win at. I do think the shifting made survival a little bit more important today, in today’s race, than what we’ve seen in the past because you’re just shifting more, so you throw that extra element in there. It can put you in position to make more mistakes,” Gordon said. “I think from the shifting standpoint, this again goes back to me almost being 40, I was pretty conservative when it came to shifting. The first hundred laps of this race, I guarantee you I shifted less than any other car out there. It wasn’t because I was trying to save the equipment. It’s just that it was easier to drive.”

The win also puts Hendrick Motorsports in line to reach 200 wins this season. Gordon’s win at the Tricky Triangle is number 197.

Gordon, a four-time champion in his own right, has started 631 NASCAR sanctioned point races. This is his fifth win at the Pennsylvania speedway. With Sunday’s win Gordon tied Bill Elliott with the most wins at this facility. “It’s really a great accomplishment for our team,” said Alan Gustafson Crew Chief on the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. “Winning at Pocono, it’s a really tough track. To win, there’s a lot of difficult challenges you have to face.”

Adding to this weekend’s challenges was a new inverted qualifying procedure and the re-introduction of shifting process. As a veteran with prior experience and an advocate for shifting out of the turns, Gordon took the lead from Juan Pablo Montoya late in the race.

“I’ll be honest. This is a tough place to win at. I do think the shifting made survival a little bit more important today, in today’s race, than what we’ve seen in the past because you’re just shifting more, so you throw that extra element in there. It can put you in position to make more mistakes,” Gordon said. “I think from the shifting standpoint, this again goes back to me almost being 40, I was pretty conservative when it came to shifting. The first hundred laps of this race, I guarantee you I shifted less than any other car out there. It wasn’t because I was trying to save the equipment. It’s just that it was easier to drive.”

The win also puts Hendrick Motorsports in line to reach 200 wins this season. Gordon’s win at the Tricky Triangle is number 197.