Remember the J-Go: Gordon Ends 48-Race Winless Streak at Texas

Rob TiongsonSenior Analyst IApril 5, 2009

FORT WORTH, TX - APRIL 04: Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, drives during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 4, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

A lot has happened since Oct. 13, 2007.

From Barack Obama's victory in the presidential race in 2008, the Boston Celtics finally winning their once elusive 17th NBA title, and the final games at the original Yankee and Shea Stadiums, it was a memorable time.

With the spring season blooming and Final Four in the NCAA basketball ranks coming to a conclusion, Texas Motor Speedway produced a stunning story that saw the ending of a 48-race winless streak for a four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.

Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 National Guard GED Plus/DuPont Chevy Impala, captured the Samsung 500 at the Fort Worth, Texas facility.

Previously shutout from victory lane in 17 previous starts, Gordon ended his much chronicled winless streaks at both the track and his last victory in style.

"Four-Time" tallied his 82nd career win, but not without a valiant fight and some dramatics toward the end of the race—a late race caution caused by David Stremme's spin with 30 laps remaining in the event.

Having run in the top 10 nearly all-race long, Gordon, along with the race leaders, went to pit road for their final pit stops of the day.

Entering pit road in third place, the "Rainbow Warriors" came through in the clutch with excellent service, boosting their driver's position two spots into the lead.

However, that same sequence of stops may have cost then race leader Carl Edwards a shot for the win. His No. 99 AFLAC Ford Fusion pit crew had some trouble on their final stop, costing Edwards 10 precious positions.

Mired in traffic for the finish, Edwards would finish in 10th spot.

Meanwhile, the waning moments of the 500-miler saw a trio of Chevrolet drivers and a pair of Ford aces finish in the top-five with 25 laps remaining.

Gordon's team had made the storylines heading into Texas Motor Speedwayfor all the wrong reasons.

The No. 24 team was criticized for being a team whose car starts off well but fades at the end, much like the guy who fails to seal the deal on a second date.

Various online sites even labeled Gordon's crew chief Steve Letarte as the "Marty Schottenheimer of NASCAR," or a coach who produced great seasons but his somewhat cautious approach translated to a goose-egg for championships.

All of those concerns were put to a temporary halt, as the DuPont team was up front for 105 laps, winning the race by a margin of a half-second over teammate Jimmie Johnson.

Ecstatic in the winner's circle, Gordon said, "How ironic is that we go into this streak and end it in Texas, a place that's eluded us so far?"

Praising his shop and pit crew for the preparations heading into the race weekend, Gordon added, "Incredible team effort. This whole year has been amazing. What a great car. I've never had one like this at Texas."

The remainder of the top 10 for Sunday's race includes Greg Biffle, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin (with his third straight top 10 finish), Juan Pablo Montoya, Kurt Busch, Jeff Burton, and Edwards, who had been leading the race prior to the final caution and pit-stop session.

With the victory, Gordon now holds a healthy 162-point advantage over Jimmmie Johnson, who gained two spots in the points standings.

Rounding out the top five in the championship chase are Busch, Clint Bowyer and Stewart.

As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series takes a week off with Easter Sunday approaching, only 191 points separate points leader Gordon from fifth place Stewart.

Phoenix International Raceway is the next track on the circuit, with the Subway Fresh Fit 500K hosting the next Cup event on Saturday night, Apr. 18.

Johnson is the defending champion for the Avondale, Arizona event.