Memo to Earnhardt Sr. Fans: Learn to Love Jeff Gordon

Adam AmickSenior Writer IMay 5, 2007

IconJeff Gordon won the pole for Saturday night's Jim Stewart 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
...this is not a recording.
And oh by the way: Gordon is better than Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Period, paragraph, end of story. 
As it stands, the rest of the Nextel Cup field is watching Gordon in awe...and they're seeing an awful lot of the 24 car's rear bumper.
In case you missed it, Jeff pulled even with Dale Sr. in career victories—and with Darrell Waltrip in career poles—at Phoenix two weeks ago. Last weekend, he surpassed both by winning the pole and the race at Talladega.
It's a new weekend and a new track—but it shouldn't surprise anyone that Gordon is on the pole at Richmond, for NASCAR's fourth "Car of Tomorrow" race.  For everything I don't like about the COT, there's one point I'm sold on:
The new machines have helped Jeff Gordon reestablish himself as the best driver in NASCAR.
As if there was any question.
For those doubters, haters, and beer-can throwing losers out there, here are the facts:
Through nine races in 2007, Gordon has two wins, seven top-five's, eight top-10's, and a worst overall finish of 12th at Atlanta. Including Richmond, he has won six of 10 poles on the season. He has led laps in all but one race (Daytona), and led the most laps in four races (Vegas, Texas, Phoenix, Talladega).
Gordon has also qualified in the top three at all four COT races (and there are 12 more to go in 2007). For what it's worth, he's been in position to win EVERY race of the season, except Daytona (always a crapshoot) and Atlanta (where he had a top-five car before losing a firewall panel).
Gordon has a 203-point lead on second-place Jeff Burton. His team is motivated. He's had the best races of his career at Texas and Phoenix. He was the first driver in history to win from the pole at Phoenix, and last week's pole at 'Dega was the first of his career at the track.
One final stat: Gordon has 77 career wins to Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s 76...and he got them in 130 fewer races.  At this clip, Jeff could well move up to third all-time with 85 career wins by the end of 2007.
Gordon won't catch Richard Petty, and he probably won't catch David Pearson—but for all you Earnhardt fans out there:
Jeff Gordon is better than your guy. No matter how many beer cans you throw at him.
77 and counting...
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