Sears Point: Robby G beats Jeff G

Robby Gordon fought off Jeff Gordon in a tense, 18-lap dash to the finish from the final caution and won Sunday's Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon (Sears Point) Raceway. The victory was Gordon's second in Winston Cup and the first in nearly a year for Richard Childress Racing

Sears Point: Robby G beats Jeff G

Gordon, having a middling season to this point, started second and led the most laps. A quick-witted strategic call on Lap 66 brought Robby and team-mate Kevin Harvick (who ran top-five all day) to the pits for their final stops, with Harvick beating Gordon out of the service lane by a few feet. Ron Fellows, who drove a superb race in DEI's No. 1 car, had taken the lead with a brilliant braking move through Turn 11, beating both Gordon and Harvick as Harvick attempted to pass Gordon.

Yet, by having pitted earlier under green, and within the final fuel window, Gordon and Harvick were set to go, whereas Fellows would have to pit one more time. The deciding controversy came as caution came out on Lap 71, for another spin by Christian Fittipaldi. Gordon charged Harvick to the caution, beating him to the line. Fellows then pitted, giving up his chance to win.

Johnny Benson, who had pitted before Gordon, took over the top spot briefly, although he would have been a sitting duck, as he would have had to pit one more time also. Benson ran out of gas at the finish line, finishing 30th. Gordon came off the Lap 71 caution in fifth place and quickly moved by Bill Elliott, Ward Burton and Rusty Wallace. He zeroed in on Benson on Lap 78 and made the pass for the lead in Turn 11 on Lap 80.

Jeff Gordon, winner of seven of the prior 12 NASCAR road races, was on the same pit cycle as Robby and Harvick. Jeff knifed through from fifth to fourth to third at the time of the last caution, on Lap 88, when Hideo Fukuyama's engine blew and Tony Raines simultaneously ran off course.

On the restart, Gordon quickly ambushed Wallace and closed hard on Robby. For five or six laps Jeff pressed Robby hard but was unable to bully his rival into a mistake. Jeff then appeared to ease up a bit to save something for a final run, allowing Robby to pull ahead by nearly a second.

With five laps to go, Jeff again began to press, but Robby, who had suffered from food-poisoning symptoms in the morning, kept cool, pacing himself, he said, off where Jeff was.

Robby crossed the line 0.5sec ahead of Jeff, with Harvick third, Elliott fourth (despite lingering effects from a broken foot five weeks ago) and Ryan Newman. Pole-winner Boris Said also drove a strong race, finishing sixth, with Fellows rallying to seventh.

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