Gordon Seeks Double Too

CHARLOTTE – Jeff Gordon and Lowe’s Motor Speedway have been a lot like a great marriage. There are ups and downs, and a lot of work has gone into it, but success and happiness have abounded.

After a bountiful honeymoon came tough times, but they worked out their differences. Now, things are looking up.

Gordon won The Winston last week at Lowe’s to become only the second driver – Dale Earnhardt is the other – to win it three times. He’s looking to become the first driver to sweep The Winston and Coca-Cola 600 twice. Gordon first did it in 1997, joining Dale Earnhardt (1993), Davey Allison (1991) and Darrell Waltrip (1985) as the only drivers to do so.

“Charlotte has been an amazing place for us,” Gordon said. “Winning The Winston was a great momentum boost for the whole team. We were pretty frustrated after wrecking on the first lap because of the rain. But we were able to pull out our backup car. The crew never gave up, and we ended up winning the race. It just goes back to our refuse-to-lose attitude.”

And it might have something to do with Gordon’s penchant for achievement at the 1.5-mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway. In his first Winston Cup race there, he finished second. In his second race, he won the pole and was fifth. Then, in his third attempt, he won the pole and scored his first Winston Cup victory.

Gordon has some tough finishes after the initial three-race honeymoon, ending up 28th or worse in four of his next five races. Then came three more victories and two fifth-place finishes over the next three seasons.

Last season, he was 10th in the 600 and 39th – after winning the pole – in the UAW-GM Quality 500.

Still, his record is impressive. In 16 points races, Gordon has four victories and seven poles. Throw in The Winston, and Gordon has seven wins in 24 starts.

“We’ve won The Winston twice when we’ve won championships,” Gordon said. “It’s the all-star event. It kinda shows whose on top of their game.”

Gordon seems to be at the top of his game. Chasing Dale Jarrett for the Winston Cup points lead, Gordon has finished second the past two races, closing to within 14 points of Jarrett.

“You don’t want to have a break after two second-place finishes,” Gordon said. “You want to go win the next race. To be able to win (The Winston), it’s going to do a tremendous amount for this race team. The confidence level, I know for me and (crew chief) Robbie (Loomis) is going to go up another notch. We’re ready to go next week.”

He should be. Only Waltrip has won more 600s than Gordon, and only David Pearson has more 600 poles.

Given’s Gordon’s season to date, he’s a good bet to add to those totals.

“It’s really been a lot of fun,” Gordon said of his season. “To have the type season that we’re having, the communication that we’re having, the attitude that the team’s got, the consistency – and then to go out and win The Winston, man, it can’t get any better than that.

“(Winning The Winston) came at a great moment for us. We won early in the season with the Vegas win. It was like, ‘Oh, man, we’re going to go on a tear.’ Then all of a sudden, we didn’t. We had a few races that slowed our momentum down, but then we started getting the momentum back.”

And that could be bad news for the competition – especially at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

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