Gold Plated Win For Gordon

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TALLADEGA, Ala. - Sunday's Aaron's 499 started out calm enough. However it didn't end that way.

Jeff Gordon survived an accident-filled day and scored his second straight win in the Aaron's 499 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Gordon held off Tony Stewart and Michael Waltrip on a green-white-checkered finish to win his third race of the season and score his second restrictor plate triumph of 2005 to go along with his Daytona 500 victory.

Gordon led 139 of the 188 lap race for his 72nd career NEXTEL Cup win, bringing him four behind Dale Earnhardt on the all-time win list. It was his 10th career restrictor plate win. Gordon has now won four of the last five NEXTEL Cup Series restrictor plate races.

"What an incredible race car!" Gordon said. "Once I got a little momentum I could just drive by guys. I don't know if I've ever had a race car where I could just drive by guys.

"You just know when you dominate like that all day long that something's going to happen at the end. But this was an amazing effort. The things was just so, so strong. It was a lot of fun."

With only two cautions in the first 100 laps for "minor" incidents, the second half of the race featured two multi-car crashes, including a massive 25-car pile-up on lap 132.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Mike Wallace made contact as the field raced into turn one and the impending wreck collected more than half the field.

"All I saw was smoke," said Rusty Wallace. "All of a sudden I saw smoke pouring up front. Just got collected. I couldn't see what happened at all. Watching the race yesterday, I was being extra careful not to screw up."

Nobody was injured in the accident which brought out a 43 minute red flag period as officials cleaned up the mess.

The day's second "Big One" came with three laps to go and again included Earnhardt, Jr. and Johnson, as the field raced down the backstretch. Martin Truex, Jr., Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson were also collected in the melee, with again nobody injured.

On the final restart, Gordon jumped his DuPont/Pepsi Chevy out ahead of the pack. Waltrip and Stewart tried to team up in a single file draft and run Gordon down on the inside lane, but they could not find a way around as the checkered flag flew, giving Gordon back-to-back Aaron's 499 wins.

Jeremy Mayfield and Jamie McMurray rounded out the Top 5.

Elliott Sadler, Kurt Busch, Ken Schrader, Dale Jarrett and Jeff Burton completed the first ten finishers.

The NEXTEL Cup Series now travels to Darlington Raceway next Saturday night for the Dodge Charger 500.

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