Article first published as Gordon Spoils Million Dollar Day on Technorati.
HAMPTON, GA – On a rare Tuesday NASCAR race, Jeff Gordon took home the 85th victory of his Sprint Cup career moving him out of a tie with Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip to third all time behind Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105).
Gordon’s win stole the thunder from one of four lucky NASCAR fans sitting on the sidelines with a chance at a Million Dollar payday. With a throwback to the old “Winston Million” days, the series sponsor Sprint put their money where their cell phone is. Four drivers were qualified (Kyle Busch, Marcos Ambrose, Paul Menard and Brad Keselowski), four fans were selected, each a shot at a million dollar check from Sprint if their driver won today.
Jeff Gordon was not one of the four and as the winner was accepting his trophy in victory lane an armored car was seen leaving the raceway turning the money bags to the vault.
In a tough day at a slick Atlanta Motor Speedway that saw race cars sliding sideways through the turns, Gordon started the day strong and after a mid-race red flag for rain, came back strong. In the final laps Jimmie Johnson tried every wrench in his drivers toolbox to get past the #24 Chevrolet, but with little to no grip remaining on his Goodyear race tires, the five-time champion had to settle for second.
With one race left to lock in a position for the ten race Chase, driver’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart, sitting in ninth and tenth, could potentially be bumped out of the Chase with a bad performance next week at Richmond.
To qualify for one of the two wild card spots drivers must be between positions 11 and 20 with one or more victories. Keselowski is assured at least one of the wild-cards sitting in 11th with three victories. Mathematically, Earnhardt and Stewart only need to finish 20th and 18th respectively to secure their spot in the Chase.
So the season comes down to the little track in Richmond. Clint Bowyer and David Ragan fall into the “Must Win” category to even have a shot. It’s a common mindset among other drivers. Paul Menard, Marcos Ambrose and Denny Hamlin could slip into the Chase with a Richmond victor, bringing their season victories to two.
September 10 @ 7:30 pm EST