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Gordon gears up for 600th Cup start

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 7, 2010) – Jeff Gordon will make his 600th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start on Saturday night in the 400-mile event at Chicagoland Speedway.

A four-time series champion, Gordon has enjoyed one of the most prolific careers in the sport’s history. Consider the following:

- Four series titles. Only Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson and Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt have four or more series championships.

- 82 career victories. That ranks sixth all-time. One more win, and Gordon will tie Cale Yarborough for fifth. Two more, and he’ll tie Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip for third.

- 68 pole positions. That ranks fourth all-time. One more, and he’ll tie Yarborough for third.

-272 top-five finishes and 371 top-10s rank sixth and eighth, respectively.

Gordon began his NASCAR Sprint Cup career in the final race of 1992 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and has not missed a single event since. All 599 starts have been consecutive, a statistic that puts Gordon ahead of all active drivers.

Below is a timeline highlighting some of Gordon’s career starts on his way to 600 starts:

1 – Nov. 15, 1992, he made his first series start. Finishing 31st, an accident ended his day early.

2 – In his first Daytona 500, on Feb. 14, 1993, Gordon finished fifth.

42 – On May 29, 1994 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Gordon won his first race. It was in one of NASCAR’s biggest events – the 600-mile event.

50 – On Aug. 6, 1994,Gordon won the inaugural NASCAR race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

85 – Won another “crown jewel” race, the Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, on Sept. 3, 1995.

93 – Despite finishing 32nd in the season finale at Atlanta on Nov. 12, 1995, Gordon won his first series championship.

125 – Became the youngest winner in Daytona 500 history at 25 years, six months, 12 days on Feb. 16, 1997.

132 – Led 431 of 500 laps to win at Martinsville (Va.) on April 20, 1997, the highest single-race laps led total of his career.

453 – On June 25, 2006, won at Infineon Raceway, his ninth victory at a road course. Gordon is the all-time wins leader at road courses.

503 – On Oct. 7, 2007 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Gordon captured his 12th restrictor-plate victory, becoming the all-time leader in that category.

552 – On April 5, 2009, he grabbed his most recent victory, at Texas Motor Speedway, leaving Homestead-Miami Speedway as the only track at which Gordon has yet to win.