The Winston: Gordon win equals Dale's record

Jeff Gordon equalled the late Dale Earnhardt's record of three victories in NASCAR's all-star race, The Winston, on Saturday night at Charlotte's Lowe's Motor Speedway.

The Winston: Gordon win equals Dale's record

But to do that, first he had to come back from crashing his primary Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Monte Carlo when a shower of rain hit the flood-lit 1.5-mile, then race his back-up car from the back of the grid and fight back from a fan-ordained field inversion. Hassle? Maybe. But with US$515,000 in his pocket as a result, Gordon could no doubt put up with it.

This year's Winston seems to have been blighted by acts of God. In qualifying, the track's power failed and for the race itself, a sudden rain shower saw four cars involved in a heavy accident, including Gordon, Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick and Michael Waltrip.

The race was re-started from scratch, with NASCAR allowing back-up cars to start from the back of the grid. Gordon fought his way up to fourth at the end of the first 30-lap segment, but the fans voted that the top 12 cars be inverted, meaning he would start the second 30-lap segment in eighth.

Just 30 laps later, Gordon was back up to second, behind Tony Stewart, but pit stops before the final 10-lap sprint shuffled the order once again: Gordon started behind Jeff Burton, with Dale Jarrett close behind, but immediately took a lead he would hold until the end.

Rain delays meant the race did not finish until 1am local time on Sunday morning, but as a pointer to next weekend's day/night Coca-Cola 600, The Winston has put Gordon down as the man to beat.

Prior to The Winston itself, the Winston Open and No Bull Sprint allowed drivers who had not qualified for the main event by right (i.e. those who hadn't won a Winston Cup race or The Winston itself) a chance to get in. Johnny Benson took a transfer slot by winning the Open, with Todd Bodine taking the No Bull Sprint route.

The teams stick around the Lowe's Motor Speedway for the next week as they prepare for one of Winston Cup racing's most prestigious - and certainly its longest - events, the Coca-Cola 600.




Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 70 laps
Dale Jarrett, Ford, 70
Tony Stewart, Pontiac, 70
Bobby Labonte, Pontiac, 70
Jerry Nadeau, Chevrolet, 70
Ward Burton, Dodge, 70
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 70
Todd Bodine, Ford, 70
Johnny Benson, Pontiac, 70
Bobby Hamilton, Chevrolet, 70
Terry Labonte, Chevrolet, 70
Jeremy Mayfield, Ford, 70
Mark Martin, Ford, 70
Matt Kenseth, Ford, 70
Rusty Wallace, Ford, 70
Jeff Burton, Ford, 70
Bill Elliott, Dodge, 70
Elliott Sadler, Ford, 70
Steve Park, Chevrolet, 70
Michael Waltrip, Chevrolet, 70
Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 19

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