By: Drew Hierwarter
The last time Jeff Gordon won a NASCAR Sprint Cup race was on April 5, of 2009! That’s 66 races and nearly two full years! Since that time, fellow Hendrick Motor Sports driver Jimmie Johnson has won 12 times and Mark Martin has racked up 4 wins.
This past Sunday in Phoenix Gordon finally returned to the winner’s circle. It was his second Cup win at the Arizona track, (although he has won there in the Busch series and open wheel cars early in his career) and his 83rd win all time in Sprint Cup competition.
He is now tied for 5th all time in the NASCAR Sprint cup series with Cale Yarborough. And he stands just one win behind Darrell Waltrip and two behind Bobby Allison. (First and second on the all time list belong to Richard Petty and David Pearson with 200 and 105 respectively).
Gordon’s win at PIR also denied Kyle Busch a clean sweep as the younger Busch won the Camping World Truck race on Friday night and dominated the Nationwide Series race on Saturday, leading all 200 laps in that event.
Thanks to NASCAR’s new policy of allowing a driver to receive points in only one of the three major touring series, after six races, Jeff Gordon is the first winner to actually score first place points.
After his fairy tale win in the Daytona 500, Trevor Bayne got a dose of reality as he got roughed up early and crashed his Wood Brothers Ford to a 40th place finish. Welcome to the big leagues son.
Over the course of the three races in Phoenix, Kyle Busch led a total of 330 laps! For that effort he got two wins and one second and moved into the lead in championship points.
The next race on the Sprint Cup schedule is Busch’s hometown of Las Vegas, NV.
In spite of some nasty weather at times through the weekend, the NHRA’s Winternationals opened their 60th Anniversary season in fine fashion on Sunday. The conditions were good enough in between storms to enable Tony Schumacher and Larry Dixon to set new national records in Top Fuel and Schumacher’s 327.03 mph speed and Dixon’s 3.77 second elapsed time are the new marks.
Speaking of Dixon, the defending Top Fuel champ was the number one qualifier and would’ve scored his 600th round win in the opener. Unfortunately the Al-Anabi car spun the tires at half track handing the win to 16th qualifier Terry McMillen and ending Dixon’s day early.
In the Top Fuel final, Morgan Lucas defeated his buddy and former high school classmate, Shawn Langdon for his first “Wally” of the year.
The two power house funny car teams met in the final when John Force driver Robert Hight lined up against Don Schumacher’s Matt Hagen. And it was Hight who came out on top using his better reaction time to get to the finish line in 4.056 seconds in spite of Hagen’s quicker 4.023.
Jason Line posted the meet’s low elapsed time for Pro Stocks, a 6.529, in the final round match-up with Greg Stanfield.