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Gordon Nears Earnhardt's Record

Jeff Gordon has edged closer to Dale Earnhardt's record of 80 NASCAR wins, when he grabbed his 72nd win at the Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday

Gordon led 139 of the 194 laps of the Aaron's 499 event, taking him to third in the points - 151 behind standings leader and teammate Jimmie Johnson. The four times champion, who began from second, took the lead on the first lap, overtaking pole sitter Kevin Harvick at the start.

The race's first caution period began on lap 21, after Kyle Petty cut a tyre and hit the wall. Gordon took advantage of the caution period and drove into the pits to change tyres. Mike Wallace, in the mean time, took the lead.

Three laps later, with the green flag, Gordon resumed his lead but lost it to Tony Stewart a dozen laps later. The two battled it out throughout the race, with Stewart eventually ending in second.

Halfway came the second caution period, when Bobby Hamilton Jr. blew out his left front tyre. The third period followed just 14 laps later, as Petty's Dodge stops on the track.

However, the big crash of the day came on lap 132 - no less than 24 cars were damaged in a major collision that began when Mike Wallace and Johnson touched after Dale Earnhardt Jr bump drafted Wallace nearing Turn 1. Ten of the drivers involved were taken to the medical centre, but all were released uninjured.

The race is red-flagged, and once the race is resumed, Gordon takes back the lead from teammate Johnson. By lap 151, Gordon had led 99 laps of the race - his own career best at Talladega.

Just 8 laps before the end of the race, another major collision occurred, with six cars damaged after Johnson and Harvick rubbed, forcing Truex into Earnhardt Jr's car.

With two laps left, the race was green-flagged for the final time, Gordon resuming his lead. Behind him, Michael Waltrip and Stewart made a run past McMurray and tried to overtake Gordon for the win, but without success. The three Chevrolet drivers crossed the finish line after 194 laps, with Gordon taking his second consecutive Aaron's 499 win.

Results of the Aaron's 499 at the Talladega Superspeedway:

Pos  Driver              Make       Laps
 1.  Jeff Gordon         Chevrolet  194
 2.  Tony Stewart        Chevrolet  194
 3.  Michael Waltrip     Chevrolet  194
 4.  Jeremy Mayfield     Dodge      194
 5.  Jamie McMurray      Dodge      194
 6.  Elliott Sadler      Ford       194
 7.  Kurt Busch          Ford       194
 8.  Ken Schrader        Dodge      194
 9.  Dale Jarrett        Ford       194
10.  Jeff Burton         Chevrolet  194
11.  Matt Kenseth        Ford       194
12.  Kevin Harvick       Chevrolet  194
13.  Greg Biffle         Ford       194
14.  Casey Mears         Dodge      193
15.  Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Chevrolet  193
16.  Johnny Sauter       Dodge      192
17.  Kerry Earnhardt     Chevrolet  190
18.  Travis Kvapil       Dodge      188
19.  Dave Blaney         Chevrolet  187
20.  Jimmie Johnson      Chevrolet  186
21.  Martin Truex Jr.    Chevrolet  186
22.  Rusty Wallace       Dodge      180
23.  Bobby Labonte       Chevrolet  174
24.  Kasey Kahne         Dodge      172
25.  Jeff Green          Dodge      172
26.  Jason Leffler       Chevrolet  171
27.  Scott Riggs         Chevrolet  171
28.  Mike Wallace        Chevrolet  171
29.  Hermie Sadler       Ford       170
30.  Ricky Rudd          Ford       170
31.  Joe Nemechek        Chevrolet  169
32.  Carl Edwards        Ford       166
33.  Mark Martin         Ford       166
34.  Sterling Marlin     Dodge      162
35.  Boris Said          Chevrolet  146
36.  Mike Bliss          Chevrolet  141
37.  Scott Wimmer        Dodge      140
38.  Brian Vickers       Chevrolet  139
39.  Ryan Newman         Dodge      135
40.  Bobby Hamilton Jr.  Chevrolet  132
41.  Kyle Busch          Chevrolet  132
42.  Mike Skinner        Dodge      132
43.  Kyle Petty          Dodge      106

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