It’s Gordon at Chicagoland
- Jul 10, 2006
- Team Hendrick
JOLIET, Ill. (July 9, 2006) – Prior to Sunday’s USG Sheetrock 400, there were only four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race tracks where Jeff Gordon had not posted a victory.
Make that three.
Gordon drove a lightning-fast No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet to his first Chicagoland Speedway win—the 75th of his storied career—and vaulted his Hendrick Motorsports team two spots into the all-important 10th position in the NEXTEL Cup standings.
It was the first win for Gordon, who started 13th, at a 1.5-mile intermediate track since October 2003, solidifying that Team DuPont and crew chief Steve Letarte are once again a threat to win each and every weekend.
“What an awesome race car,” said Gordon, who has now won at all but three NEXTEL Cup tracks: Homestead-Miami, Phoenix and Texas. “They dropped the green and we just started passing cars and driving to the front, and the car just never changed all day. I mean, we made a few adjustments, but the car was just amazing. Awesome to be battling there at the end.”
The day was Gordon’s, but it did not overshadow and excellent all-around race for Hendrick Motorsports.
Kyle Busch, making just his second career start at Chicagoland in his No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet, finished an impressive third, which keeps him in eighth place in the overall standings.
“Hopefully we can keep this momentum going and congratulations to my teammate Jeff,” Busch said. “For our day, we had a pretty solid effort and we’re proud of that. So hopefully that will keep us up in the points and we can keep going.”
Series leader Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet team finished sixth—their fifth top 10 at Chicago in five tries—and extended their lead over second place.
“They’re not bad days if we can finish in the top 10,” said Johnson, prior to congratulating Gordon in Victory Lane, “but we want to win them.”
Brian Vickers and the No. 25 GMAC Racing team did precisely what they’ve been doing for the last six weeks: turning in solid performances. Vickers was 13th.
“The guys on the GMAC team never gave up today,” Vickers said. “They earned this finish. We started out strong and then kind of faded toward the middle part of the race, but when it mattered toward the end, they got it right.”
For Busch, the race provided comfort coming in the wake of a tough NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday at Chicagoland. The 21-year-old’s day ended almost before it began as he found himself mixed up in an opening-lap incident that sent him to the garage.
Busch returned to the track but struggled to a difficult 42nd in his No. 5 Lowe’s/Hitachi Chevy, completing just 79 laps, but remains eighth in the standings.
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