MRN Flashback: 2002 Protection One 400
By: MRN Staff on April 17, 2013 | 3:02 P.M. EST
Gordon celebrates his second straight Kansas Speedway victory in September 2002 after winning the Protection One 400. (Photo: ISC Archives)
In 2002, Jeff Gordon closed the month of September the same way he opened it – with a victory in the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet.
On Sept. 29 of that year, Gordon led the final 57 laps to put Hendrick Motorsports in Victory Lane at Kansas Speedway … 28 days after winning at Darlington Raceway. It was Gordon’s second straight victory in the Protection One 400 and his third win of the 2002 season.
Gordon started 10th and didn’t get his first lead until early in the second half of the race. But he showed the way for all but five of the final 121 laps, beating rookie Ryan Newman to the checkered flag by .618 seconds. Rusty Wallace, Joe Nemechek (one of Gordon’s Hendrick teammates) and Bill Elliott completed the top five.
It was a strong showing for the four-car Hendrick Motorsports team, which also had rookie Jimmie Johnson finishing 10th and two-time champion Terry Labonte in 12th.
Pole sitter Dale Earnhardt Jr., who led only 10 laps, finished sixth as one of just eight drivers running on the lead lap with Gordon at the end of the day.
There were just 13 lead changes among 10 drivers and 11 cautions for 52 laps. Gordon finished fourth in the final 2002 Cup Series standings – behind champion Tony Stewart, Mark Martin and Kurt Busch, just seven points in front of rookie teammate Johnson.
Visit MotorRacingNetwork.com on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. (ET) to hear the complete broadcast of the 2002 Protection One 400, anchored by Barney Hall and Joe Moore. Motor Racing Network – “The Voice of NASCAR” – will feature a classic race broadcast each week on “Throwback Thursday” throughout the 2013 season at MotorRacingNetwork.com.