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Two in a Row for Gordon

DARLINGTON, S.C. (Sept. 2, 2002)—Driving the No. 24 DuPont Chevy, Jeff Gordon dominated Sunday’s rain-delayed Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, leading the most laps en route to his 60th career NASCAR Winston Cup Series victory.

“Oh, that was awesome,” Gordon said of the win, his second in as many weeks. “What fun we`re having right now. These guys gave me an awfully good car, especially on new tires. These guys have come alive.

“We’ve heard it before. If these guys get a win, watch out. We’re coming up on some tracks that suit us. We didn’t capitalize on Bristol (Tenn.) or Darlington the first time around, but we sure are making up for it now.”

The defending Winston Cup champion continued his surge toward the top of the driver standings, moving to second place overall and cutting leader Sterling Marlin’s lead to double digits—just 91 points.

“Wow, we’re gaining on it,” said the four-time champion, referring to the points lead. “It’s not easy to gain on Sterling. They run good at a lot of different tracks.

“We’re doing all we can do. We’re leading laps and fighting hard. Two wins, back-to-back, is going to do a world of good for us. I can’t wait to go to Richmond (Va.).”

Rookie Jimmie Johnson brought home another top-10 finish, his 15th of 2002, and remains fifth in points, just five behind fourth-place Tony Stewart and just 167 back of Marlin.

The driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevy is tied with Mark Martin for the most top-10 finishes this season.

Fighting from a lap down, Joe Nemechek raced hard to rejoin the leaders, only to have a blown left-rear tire hinder the progress of the UAW-Delphi team, finishing 21st after starting in the 37th position.

Nemechek is currently 37th in the standings.

Two-time Winston Cup champion Terry Labonte started 19th and finished 31st at Darlington in the No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet, three laps off the pace thanks to handling problems.

The veteran is currently 19th in the Winston Cup standings, down one position from last week.

The NASCAR Winston Cup Series will next visit Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, Sept. 7 for the Chevy Monte Carlo 400. Live coverage of the event on TNT and MRN Radio will begin at 7 p.m. EDT.

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