Atlanta Worth the Wait for Gordon

Jeff Gordon

Gordon celebrates his 85th career win. (Photo: Getty Images)

Complete Results

Jeff Gordon held off Jimmie Johnson to win Tuesday's rain-delayed AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway and move into third on the all-time Sprint Cup Series victory list with 85.

The two Hendrick Motorsports teammates raced for the lead in an epic battle over the final 10 laps before Gordon was able to pull away to score his third win of the season.

Jeff Gordon"Our car was so strong and we just used it up at the end. I was slipping and sliding all over the place," Gordon said. "That was a lot of fun. I was slipping and he was slipping. It was an incredible victory."

Gordon notched his fifth career win at Atlanta Motor Speedway and first since 2003 while moving behind only Richard Petty and David Pearson on the Sprint Cup Series all-time win list.

"I had totally forgotten about that," Gordon said. "85, wow. That is unbelievable. I'm just blown away by the kind of day we had and the kind of year I've had."

Tony Stewart finished third to help his chances of making the Chase as he increased his lead over 11th place Brad Keselowski to 23 points.

“The points are big going into next week, that’s for sure,” Stewart said of heading into Saturday night’s regular season finale at Richmond. “I’m proud of the effort everybody gave this week. It may come down to one point. Having the strong finish we had here, maybe that will be the difference in making it or not making it next week.”

Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards rounded out the top five.

“There was a lot of hard driving out there,” said Edwards, who won Saturday night’s Nationwide Series race at Atlanta. “I don’t know what it looked like from outside the car, but from inside the car it was a lot of work. It’s one of the most fun race tracks we go to, I wish we were coming back here next week.”

Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and A.J. Allmendinger completed the first 10 finishers.

The race was postponed two days because of the heavy rains that swept through the Atlanta area. It was only the second race since 1978 to be run on a Tuesday.

Johnson leads the Sprint Cup Series standings by 21 points over Kyle Busch with Edwards, Kenseth and Gordon the top five. Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman clinched Chase spots while Keselowski earned the first wild card berth. Hamlin leads as the second wild card candidate.

It was a tough day for Clint Bowyer, who was trying to make a late run into a Chase berth. He made contact racing with Juan Pablo Montoya for position and wound up crashing his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, eventually credited with a 36th place finish. Bowyer fell to 14th in the standings.

“You can't race around the jackass," Bowyer said after he climbed from his battered racecar. "You never can. Anybody in this sport knows what you're up against when the 42 comes up. He dive-bombs the starts and bullies his way up in there, and before you know it, he's in the way and wrecking with somebody. Unfortunately, I was victim this week. It's just a shame. We're out here racing for a spot in the Chase. He's racing for nothing, you know? I'm tired of it. Everybody in the garage area fights him. He's just an idiot."

The race was slowed nine times for caution covering 64 laps including several for mist that engulfed the racetrack. There were 35 lead changes among fourteen different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now heads to Richmond International Raceway this Saturday night for the Wonderful Pistachios 400, the final race of the regular season.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, Jeff Gordon

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