RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 11, 2004) – Jeff Gordon secured the No. 1 position in the 10-race “Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup” on Saturday night after finishing third in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
“What a battle,” said Gordon, who started ninth. “This is why we’re where we at in the points and why I’m so excited about these last 10 races—because these guys just never give up. They just do everything that they can to get this DuPont Chevrolet up to the front.
“We fought it and fought it and fought it all night tonight and we had our hands full. But there at the end, it finally came back to us.”
Driving the No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevy, Terry Labonte overcame early brake problems and deftly dodged a pair of multi-car accidents to come away with an 18th-place finish.
The two-time champion, who started 23rd, also picked up one position in the point standings. He now sits 23rd overall.
Jimmie Johnson and rookie Brian Vickers were each involved in an incident that included multiple teams, relegating them to finishes of 36th and 37th, respectively.
Leading the standings going into the race, Johnson and Team Lowe’s Racing, who started the race third, now own the No. 2 points position as the “Chase” begins this weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway.
Vickers, driver of the No. 25 GMAC Financial Services Chevy, is 24th in the standings.
The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will next visit New Hampshire International Speedway for Sunday’s Sylvania 300. TNT and MRN Radio will broadcast the event live beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET.