Jeff Gordon won the Samsung 500 Sunday, slaughtering the fear of another winless season.
Gordon fans would say they could just feel it, Texas would provide then with a victory. Texas Motor Speed had humbled this champion in the past. Last year Texas added the footnote of Gordon’s second last place finish ever, to his career. Therefore, it seemed fitting that this year Texas became a highlight in Gordon’s career.
The No. 24 team’s decisive choice not to pit on Lap 221 gave Gordon the advantage he had been lacking in the first half of the race. Gordon wasn’t alone in being denied the lead. Greg Biffle made dominating the first half of Samsung 500 look like taking a Sunday drive.
Gordon, Kenseth and Stewart would mount a challenge, but none could close the gap to less then a minute. As not pitting had saved Gordon, pitting was Biffle’s downfall. The No. 16 team was consistent, Biffle’s pitting as no longer then other stops. Nevertheless, the No. 16 team simply wasn’t as fast enough. Maybe they could learn something from the bees in Kenseth’s pit.
The sight of the No. 24 car in the lead must have been exhilarating for Gordon fans, but on Lap 294 it looked that they maybe robbed of victory once again, as Edwards dropped to the inside for a push to the front.
Gordon was able to answer Edwards’ advance until he was blocked by the lapped car of Joey Lagano. Shortly after Edwards took the lead from Gordon, Stewart on Lap 298 took second from Gordon as well. Was the champion slipping?
Gordon needed a reprieve, a hard hit by David Stremme into the wall give it too him in the form of a yellow flag. Gordon fans were out of their seats or leaning into the TV, willing pit row to give Gordon the advantage twice in one race. As Edwards experienced trouble on pit row, the No. 24 team was perfect.
Gordon would take the lead never to relinquish it again.