Thursday, September 8, 2011

Jeff Gordon, 85 Times a Winner

When the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finally raced at Atlanta for a rare Tuesday race, Jeff Gordon rewrote the history books again.  He passed Darrell Waltrip and (possibly) Bobby Allison for sole possession of 3rd place on the All-Time NASCAR Cup Wins list.  With 85 wins, Gordon is now only behind David Pearson (105 wins) and Richard Petty (200 Wins).

Jeff Gordon celebrates at Atlanta. (Photo courtesy

Jeff Gordon has been racing in NASCAR's Top Tier series since 1992, where he started the season finale at Atlanta.  It has taken him 20 years to make it to 85 wins.  It took Darrell Waltrip 21 years to get to 84 wins.  That win was at Darlington, in 1992.  Though Waltrip would still drive until 2000, he never won in the Cup Series again.  Bobby Allison used up his whole 25 year career to get to 84 wins.  His final win came in the 1988 Daytona 500, where he held off his son, Davey, for the checkered flag.  Unfortunately, his career was cut short after a horrifying crash at Pocono almost took his life just 12 weeks later.

Jeff Gordon wins for the first time (Photo Courtesy Charlotte Motor Speedway)
 Jeff Gordon's first win came at the grand old age of 22.  He took his first checkered flag at Charlotte in the Coca-Cola 600.  Until a winless drought in 2008, Jeff Gordon had won at least 1 race every year since 1994.  His best years in that span were 1996-1998.  He won 33 races in that span (10 each in '96 and '97, and 13 in '98).  He also won 2 championships back-to-back in 1997 and 1998. 

Jeff Gordon and NASCAR President Mike Helton (Photo Courtesy
 Since coming into the sport, Jeff Gordon has been a force to be reckoned with.  He has now surpassed 2 Hall of Famers in all-time wins.  That is, unless you ask Bobby.  He'll tell you that he and Jeff are tied, each with 85.  But that's a story for another blog, another day.  Right now, we'll say that Jeff Gordon is 3rd in all-time wins.  And its been a long time coming.  Congratulations Jeff.  Who knows, maybe he'll be able to get ahead of David Pearson one day.


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