Jeff Gordon Wins At Martinsville And Will Compete For Fifth Championship In Homestead-Miamiby Camille Jones November 1, 2015 0 comments
Photo Credit: Wayne Thomas
RIDGEWAY, Va. – In his final season of fulltime NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, Jeff Gordon claimed the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 victory on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway to guarantee himself a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup finale.
The win is Gordon’s 93rd victory in 794 series starts, and it marked his ninth career victory at Martinsville Speedway. After making it to the Eliminator Round without any wins, Gordon became the first driver to claim his spot in the Championship Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, giving him the opportunity to compete for his fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
“This is the sweetest, most amazing feeling,” Gordon said. “I am so proud of this team. You want to talk about holding back emotions; right now man, wow, we’re going to Homestead! I can’t believe it. What an incredible battle that was.”
Having the chance to compete for his fifth and final championship gives Gordon the opportunity to win his first under the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format. His last series championship came back in 2001 under the NASCAR Winston Cup Series points format.
“We’ll grind it out,” Gordon said. “We’re going to give it something to think about. First, we’re going to improve our race car a little bit for Homestead. Don’t count us out. We’ve proved that during this entire Chase and we certainly proved that today. This team is fired up; we’ve got some momentum now!”
After starting fifth and running inside the top-five for most of the race, Gordon was able to pass AJ Allmendinger to claim the lead with 22 laps remaining as night fell over Martinsville Speedway. After a final restart on Lap 498, the driver of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 AARP Member Advantages Chevrolet held off Jamie McMurray and Kyle Busch for the win. He led 35 of the 500 laps ran on Sunday.
“This is turning into one of these just incredible storybook finishes to this year, to this career,” Gordon said. “Of all years, I mean, of all years, I cannot believe this. I’m so excited it’s happening in this year. That was clutch. That was huge. Yeah, we had a few things that fell in our favor. But you got to be there and be ready for that moment when it comes, and we were.”
Although Gordon had a successful day, many of the contenders in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup didn’t fare so well. In a caution-filled race on Sunday, there were 18 cautions for a total of 109 laps, also including a red flag for 12 minutes and 46 seconds after a collision between Matt Kenseth and then-race leader, Joey Logano.
After the first of three races in the Eliminator Round, Jeff Gordon leads in the championship point standings. Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick complete the top-four. Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch and Joey Logano are the four drivers outside looking in as the series heads to Texas Motor Speedway.
Coverage for the AAA Texas 500 will begin on NBC and the Performance Racing Network (PRN) at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, November 8.