Racingone Rewind: Darlington


    DARLINGTON, S.C. - A look back at Jeff Gordon's 78th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victory in Sunday's rain-delayed Dodge Avenger 500 at Darlington Raceway including news, notes and observations by the RacingOne staff.

    Click Here to watch RacingOne's audio slideshow recap of Sunday's Dodge Avenger 500. itunes Podcast

    Inside Line
    Jeff Gordon raced to his third win of the season to give Hendrick Motorsports its eighth triumph in the season's first 11 races with a victory in the Dodge Avenger 500 Sunday at Darlington Raceway.

    Keys to Victory Lane
    Gordon was able to nurse an overheating car to the finish and stay ahead of Denny Hamlin for his seventh career NEXTEL Cup victory at Darlington.

    Zero to Hero
    Ryan Newman rebounded from a bad qualifying lap to lead 39 laps en route to his first top five since Infineon Raceway in 2006.

    Hero to Zero
    Ken Schrader started eighth but wound up finishing 41st. Special mention to Kenny Wallace, who took the green flag in sixth but finished 24th.

    Rookie of the Race
    Juan Pablo Montoya may have been two laps down, but he was the best freshman of the day with a 23rd-place finish.

    Tony Stewart started 26th, got down a lap but came back for a sixth place finish. Matt Kenseth started 31st and brought home a seventh place finish. And Jeff Burton came from 34th to finish 10th.

    Dodge Avenger 500 Loop Data Leaders
  • Average Running Position: Denny Hamlin - 3.041
  • Fastest Early In a Run: Denny Hamlin - 156.108 mph
  • Fastest Late In a Run: Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 148.773 mph
  • Fastest in Turn 1: Carl Edwards - 149.222 mph
  • Fastest in Turn 2: Jimmie Johnson - 150.888 mph
  • Fastest in Turn 3: Jimmie Johnson - 135.296 mph
  • Fastest in Turn 4: Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 134.782 mph
  • Fastest Laps Run: Denny Hamlin - 73
  • Fastest on Restarts: Denny Hamlin - 154.675 mph
  • Most Passes During Green Flag Conditions: Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 81

    Pit Stops
  • Jeff Gordon captured his 78th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victory - seventh at Darlington - in his 484th start. The win was also his 18th top 10 at at the 1.366-mile speedway. Detailed Active Driver Wins
  • Gordon remains in sixth on NASCAR’s all-time wins list. All-Time Winners
  • Gordon won the 157th race for car owner Rick Hendrick. Detailed Active Car Owner Wins
  • Today's win marked the fourth time since 1998 that Hendrick has posted four straight wins.
  • Gordon became the sixth driver to win at Darlington from the 10th starting position. He also became the 45th driver overall to win a race from that spot. Starting Position Facts
  • Gordon led one time for 22 laps. Lap Summary
  • Gordon won the 1oth race of the season for Chevrolet. It was also the 606th overall victory for the manufacturer. All-Time Manufacturer Wins
  • Denny Hamlin's runner-up effort was his best result of 2007.
  • Jimmie Johnson's third place finish was his eighth top-five result of 2007.
  • Ryan Newman was the only Dodge driver to finish in the top-10 in the Dodge Avenger 500.
  • Carl Edwards's fifth place result was his best finish in four starts at Darlington.
  • Tony Stewart recorded his first top-10 finish at Darlington since September, 2002.
  • Matt Kenseth picked up his fifth top-10 finish in 14 starts at Darlington Raceway.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. scored his third consecutive top-10 finish at Darlington.
  • Clint Bowyer has two consecutive ninth place finishes with his result at Darlington.
  • Jeff Burton has three top-10 results in five Car of Tomorrow races.
  • The 367-lap race saw 21 lead changes among 10 drivers and an average speed of 124.383 mph.
  • 10 caution flags were thrown for 44 laps.
  • The Dodge Avenger 500 lasted 4 hours, 1 minute, 50 seconds.

    Lug Nuts
  • Sorry mom, but we're glad we didn't miss the race on Sunday. Turned out to be pretty good and the brunch prices next weekend will be much cheaper.
  • From where we sit, not only is Hendrick perfect in the COT era, the car itself is five-for-five as well.
  • Good to stop talking about the Junior saga and get to some racing, which there was plenty of on Sunday.
  • Maybe the future of DEI isn't in such bad hands with Martin Truex, Jr., who finished 11th Sunday.
  • Ouch, Gordon's mom shows up for the race, but leaves before she could see her son win?

    Garage Talk
  • "Now that it's over, I can say it was fun (driving the COT). But at the time it wasn't fun." - Jimmie Johnson
  • It's overwhelming. Those guys are so loyal. I hope to repay them for that loyalty. - Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on his fans.
  • "We've got to win a race sooner or later." - Denny Hamlin
  • "Where else would I want to be but at the track. This is awesome." - Gaye Busch, Kyle and Kurt's mother.
  • "At this point, I’m just glad to be leaving Darlington." - David Reutimann
  • "If you take a look at the right side of this car, it’s obvious to see what got us back here. I just got into the wall a couple of times. I got into the wall about lap 15 and I’m gonna say I’ve hit it about six times by now." - Robby Gordon

    RacingOne Rating
    On as scale of one to ten Darlington stripes, we'll give Sunday's Dodge Avenger 500 a solid eight. Hey if Richmond was a seven, this has to be one better just because it's Darlington. Great to see cars running wide open and a little wild around "The Lady in Black" and the COT didn't turn out to be the big problem many predicted. Getting a little scary to see how far ahead of most everyone - except Denny Hamlin - Hendrick Motorsports is at this point of the season, but all in all a fun "Mother's Day" weekend, albeit a litle longer than anticipated. Next it's all-star time as we head to Lowe's Motor Speedway for the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge.

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